Turkey prices have dropped by a lot as Thanksgiving planning ramps up

Here's how much your Thanksgiving meal will cost you this year

Turkey prices have dropped by a lot as Thanksgiving planning ramps up

The price of turkey has gone up dramatically, making the cost to cook Thanksgiving dinner more affordable for families with limited budgets.

Michael Swanson is the chief agriculture economist at Wells Fargo Agri-Food Institute.

He said that families will benefit more from celebrating Thanksgiving this year at home because turkey prices have dropped so much. Turkey is the main course of the meal.

Swanson said that the price of a 10- to 15-pound turkey – the main dish at the holidays – has dropped by 13% compared with the same period last year.

According to Wells Fargo’s Thanksgiving Food Report, released on Wednesday, the decrease in shelf price of the bird coincides with a 29% drop in wholesale prices this October as compared to a year earlier.

The report analyses the outlook of key grocery items, such as sweet potatoes, cranberries and turkey that are essential to the Thanksgiving Day dinner. Swanson explained that the data was compiled from various sources including data collected at the point of sale by market research firm Circana, and wholesale price data obtained from the USDA Livestock Marketing Information Center.

The big price drop isn't a result of anything bad. The American tradition of demand and supply is at play this year.

Swanson, a farmer from the area, said that in July the industry added between 2% and 3% more birds to the barns to ensure a robust supply for Thanksgiving. He said that a reduction in input costs, such as those for refrigerated trucks used to transport the turkeys around the country, is also helping to lower the price per pound.

The average rate for refrigerated trucking was $3.80 per mile a year ago. He said that the USDA's most recent rate was $3.30 a mile. He said that there are more trucks available, which has reduced the price and increased the supply for the food industry.

Swanson expects to offer even more turkey deals in November.

He said that 84% fresh whole turkeys are usually sold in November.

It's during this period that grocery stores offer a deep discount on turkeys as a "loss leader" item to encourage shoppers at the peak of the holiday shopping season. The idea is that people will go to the stores in search of turkeys and leave with more than they bargained for, and more profit for the supermarkets.

Savings on food prices will also be reduced.

In September, the grocery price index rose by 2.4%, less than inflation, which was 3.7%.

This year's food price rises have been lessened, providing much-needed relief to many households.

The lower price of the turkey can help offset the higher cost of other ingredients in the traditional meal.

If you look at the price of other ingredients, you might find that cranberries are more expensive this year.

According to the report, fresh cranberries are expected to cost about 20% less than last year. However, canned cranberries were estimated at almost 60% higher. Swanson stated that rising packaging costs and labor costs have pushed up the price of canned produce.

The same is true for canned pumpkins. Swanson says that the production costs of canned pumpkins have increased by 30% this year compared to last year. Consumers are also paying a portion of the increase in the store prices.

The report stated that the average price of canned green beans is almost 9% higher than last year.

Sweet potatoes have increased in price by 4%, but Swanson expects the price to drop before Thanksgiving because grocers are becoming more competitive for consumer dollars.

Prices for russet potatoes are however at a record high.

Swanson said that consumer prices have risen by 14% in the last year. "Russets are grown in the Pacific Northwest." He said that a year ago, the region was hit by a severe drought which reduced supply. This year's harvest was much better, so we expect prices to fall.

Danielle Wiener Bronner, CNN's Danielle Wiener Bronner, contributed to the story.