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Why Americans are finding cheaper prices on Thanksgiving foods
An avian flu scare has made some question whether the cost of Thanksgiving shopping would go up this year - and rather there'd be much turkey at all. However, NPR reports shoppers might actually save money compared to last year. - photo by Payton Davis
Avian flu killed 8 million turkeys earlier this year but consumers are still finding "bargain birds" on their pre-Thanksgiving shopping trips, according to NPR.

Why's that?

Grocers have sliced holiday-related food prices to get customers to their stores, Marilyn Geewax wrote for NPR.

Steve Karnowski noted for Associated Press some of the deals: A 16-pound premium frozen Butterball will cost about 64 cents less than Thanksgiving 2014.

Shoppers can find other holiday staples for cheaper than other years too.

"The butter for all those mashed potatoes and pie crusts has dropped to around $3.08 a pound compared with $3.82 a year ago," the AP reported. "Milk is down to $2.22 a gallon compared with $3.78 last year."

While retail prices for russet potatoes (up 24 percent); butternut squash (17 percent); and sweet potatoes (10 percent) have increased, the AP's report said cranberry prices are down 14 percent, and some retailers sell asparagus for 9 percent less than last year.

The bottom line: The "great turkey panic of 2015" was a bust, Nancy Gagliardi wrote for Forbes. And shoppers should do one thing in particular relax.

"The headlines concerning turkey shortages due to a widespread bird flu outbreak started as early as April; but while there may be less turkeys at the market, a shortage seemed unlikely," according to Forbes.

Forbes noted some economists expected a 15-20 percent increase in turkey costs; however, that "never came to pass."

Also, supermarkets know cheap turkeys means luring shoppers in, Jana Kasperkevic wrote for The Guardian. Once there for the promotionals, they'll stock up on other groceries needed for Thanksgiving.

And NPR detailed other fall factors in shoppers' favor.

"Other factors are helping too: A strong dollar is making it cheaper to import fruits, vegetables and cheeses," NPR's piece read. "And that strong dollar, along with slowing growth in other countries, is reducing global demand for U.S. foods, and leaving more available a lower prices for Americans."

Farmers have huge corn, wheat and soybean harvests too, according to NPR, and wholesale eggs "showed the biggest cost decline since March 2000."

Lexi Dwyer wrote for Today of one stat that might help shoppers along with bargains: The average cost of Thanksgiving dinner is $5 per guest.

Serving 10 people costs around $50.11, specifically, Today reported which is up a bit (70 cents) from last year.

According to Today, that's considering normal serving sizes, though, so food coma-seekers might need to shell out some extra cash.

"As I understand it, we were looking at normal serving sizes, so you are responsible for your own portion control," American Farm Bureau Federation chief economist John Anderson told Today. "And we all know how that goes out the window on Thanksgiving, so I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't totally stretch."

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