Although turkey prices are down on last year, higher vegetable prices contributed to an overall rise
Although turkey prices are down on last year, higher vegetable prices contributed to an overall rise

Price of Christmas dinner up 1%

19 December 2016

The cost of a traditional turkey Christmas dinner has gone up by 1% since last year, an index has shown.

While year-on-year turkey prices were down 2%, the overall price of vegetables has gone up by 17% and the price of pork – for the festive favourite pigs in blankets – is up 14% on last year, according to the Mintec Christmas Dinner Index.

The report said turkey prices were generally higher last year because of global concerns over avian flue. However, it warned turkey prices were likely to increase closer to Christmas and advised “it’s always best to buy early”. It said the number of turkeys slaughtered in September numbered 1.3m, 10% higher than last year.

Potatoes were the largest individual contributor to the overall price rise, up 49% on last year. Extreme cold early in the year delayed crop planting and a lack of sunshine later in the season affected growth and contributed to inflation.

The supply of carrots has been plentiful this year, the report said, with prices rising only 0.5%. Parsnips were up 15% while onions had the largest price rise of any individual commodity, up 55%. However, being a small part of Christmas dinner, onions only carried a 5% weighting.

The overall price rise is a weighted index based on what Mintec estimates the ingredients of a Christmas dinner to be. The cost of turkey contributes more than a third (35%) of the total price, and vegetables account for half – potatoes are a quarter of the total score on their own and the rest of the vegetables another quarter.

The final 15% of the basket is pork, which was up 14% on last year because of higher demand in China.

Mintec also calculated the cost of a Christmas pudding, based on the value of its ingredients. It said an increase in the cost of milk, wheat and sugar led to a 21% year-on-year price increase.

Mixed nuts, a Christmas staple, have also risen on the whole because of the devaluation of the pound. Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, and walnuts are all imported, the report said. However, a good crop in California has pushed the price of almonds down on last year.

Raw commodity prices for plastic, wrapping paper and steel are also down overall because of higher supply, making things such as artificial Christmas trees and some toys cheaper, it said.

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