Expect higher prices for these Thanksgiving foods, thanks to the drought


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Your grocery bill’s going to be a little higher this year if you’re planning on celebrating Halloween and Thanksgiving with traditional holiday foods.

The Wall Street Journal yesterday published pricing data from the Dining Alliance — a food service purchasing organization based in Allston, Mass. — for popular fall foods, comparing this year’s costs with last year’s and showing the drought’s effects on these differences.

According to the data, you can expect to be paying:

  • 20% to 30% more for apples and apple cider, partly because the average U.S. apple farmer is picking about 50% less than last year;
  • 5% to 10% more for your Thanksgiving turkey;
  • 3% to 5% more for stuffing;
  • 3% more for candy, including candy corn, since the high-fructose corn syrup used in candy relies on — yup, you guessed it — corn, which costs more now partly because of the drought’s effects on the crop. Corn prices rose about 35% between June 18 and Aug. 29, and this dramatic increase is affecting just about everything, including meat since it’s used to feed livestock. The Dining Alliance’s chief executive, John Davie, told WSJ to expect a rise in meat prices; and
  • 5% more for dairy, butter and milk, partly because the drought has taken a toll on the health and output of cows.


And don’t expect these prices to start dropping any time soon. “We’re still telling our members the real impact of the drought won’t be felt until February-ish of next year,” Davie told the WSJ.

Overall, you’ll probably only be paying about 5% more than in 2011 because prices were exceedingly high last year. However, the Dining Alliance estimated that this year’s prices are probably about 15% higher than what they would have been had we not had the drought.

The good news: Pumpkins apparently withstand droughts well, so you don’t need to pay more for your pumpkins if you want to make these pumpkin recipes or these pumpkin seed recipes. And your sweet potato casserole won't cost any more than it did last Thanksgiving.

Click here for the full report.