Nightly News | November 23, 2011
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, anchor: Back now with news about the cost of tradition. This is the holiday, of course, for giving thanks, but only the sentiment is free. The price of a Thanksgiving dinner has climbed by the highest amount in 20 years. So why now? NBC 's Janet Shamlian explains.
JANET SHAMLIAN reporting: Shopping for her family's Thanksgiving dinner has given Christy Stone a taste of sticker shock.
Ms. CHRISTY STONE: Can't life without that.
SHAMLIAN: It's just a small family gathering with a bigger than ever price tag.
Ms. STONE: I buy just what I need, you know. I have my list with me, so I buy just what I need. No more, no less.
SHAMLIAN: A traditional Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings will cost 13 percent more this year. That's' the largest jump in more than two decades.
Source: American Farm Bureau
SHAMLIAN: Across the board, everything is more expensive, from frozen peas to a package of rolls. But nothing has climbed more than the traditional bird. Turkey is up more than 20 percent in just one year. And the rest of the feast, too. Pumpkin pie mix, if you can find it, will cost 41 cents more. Stuffing is up 24 cents, cranberries and sweet potatoes up 7 cents each.
Mr. JOHN ANDERSON (American Farm Bureau): It looks like some of the major factors influencing price have been higher energy prices overall, which really do influence prices on all of the items that we survey. And also strong demand globally for food products.
SHAMLIAN: Take pecans. Thirty percent of the US supply is being exported at a time when the harvest has taken a severe hit from the drought.
Mr. PETE PAVLOVSKY: Overall, it's going to be down quite a bit in Texas .
SHAMLIAN: Pecan grower Pete Pavlovsky says production has fallen from 70 million to 40 million pounds just in Texas , and prices are skyrocketing.
Mr. PAVLOVSKY: Some people are getting 11 and $12 a pound for shelled pecans. Next year they're probably going to go up more.
SHAMLIAN: And yet shoppers like Lynn Buchanan say the long-held tradition of the bountiful meal is not one they'll scrimp on.
Ms. LYNN BUCHANAN: I'm sure the dinner will cost at least $200, but it's just once a year so we do it.
SHAMLIAN: Higher prices taking a bite out of the holiday as giving thanks gets more expensive. Janet Shamlian , NBC News, Houston.