Life & Leisure

Americans celebrate Thanksgiving with tightened purse strings

By Sara Soteras i Acosta

Washington, Nov 24 (EFE).- Many Americans on Thursday were celebrating Thanksgiving, the country’s main holiday, with their belts tightened amid soaring inflation that has seen the price of the average shopping basket rise by 20%.

This year, a meal for 10 people will average about $64 compared to $53 last year, according to a survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation, a lobby group for the agricultural industry.

The Bureau’s chief economist, Roger Cryan, told Efe that this year saw the largest annual increase in the average cost of food for the holiday season.

Turkey, the star of every Thanksgiving table, makes up a hefty portion of the bill; in 2022, prices for the bird rose by 21% compared to last year.

This is mostly due to inflation of around 8%, said Cryan, who also mentioned supply chain problems, the war in Ukraine and challenges facing farmers and ranchers, such as the rising cost of fuel and feed, as well as avian flu affecting poultry concerns.

In supermarkets across the US, customers have even considered stepping away from tradition and not getting a turkey at all, such is the hit on many people’s wallets.

While Thanksgiving staples such as turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie mix have seen a rise in price, fresh cranberries are down 14% this year, as the harvest was also 5% larger than in 2021, Cryan said.

According to the Farm Bureau’s chief economist, since the release of the survey a week ago, there has been some good news for Americans with a 14% drop in the price of frozen turkey.

Another report from economists at Wells Fargo bank argues that the difference between eating out or staying in for Thanksgiving is not as pronounced as it once was, as one “could spend the same on a dish served at a restaurant as preparing it at home.”

It is not only food that is bearing the brunt of inflation; the cost of gas, cars, rent and electricity were all affected this year, economist Richard Roberts, a professor at Monmouth University (New Jersey) and former Federal Reserve executive, told EFE.

Roberts believes that the strong inflation was partly the result of “good intentions”, although he acknowledged the role of “excessive measures” adopted in Congress and by the Federal Reserve to boost spending in the wake of Covid.

The squeeze has also led to many being unable to travel home to celebrate the holiday with their families due to the high price of flights.Despite the rise in fuel prices, the American Automobile Association has predicted that more people will drive home this year, such is the expense associated with flying. EFE


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