Friday, December 2, 2022

USA celebrates Thanksgiving by looking at the pocket for inflation

Americans celebrate the biggest holiday in the country, Thanksgiving, this Thursday by tightening their belts, partly because the price of the shopping basket has become 20% more expensive due to inflation.

This year, a meal for 10 people will cost an average of about $64, up from $53 last year, an increase of 20 percent, according to a survey by the American Federation of Farm Bureaux, a lobby group that represents the industry.

The head of the Federation’s Economy, Roger Cryan, assured EFE that this is the largest annual increase in the average cost of food for these holidays, with a difference of just over US$10.

Turkey, the star dish on the Thanksgiving table, constitutes an important part of the bill, since in 2022 it is the food that has risen the most in price, 21% (US$4.97), compared to 2021.

This is mainly due to inflation in the country of around 8%, said Cryan, who also mentioned problems in the supply chain, the war in Ukraine and the challenges faced by farmers and ranchers, such as the increase in in the cost of fuel and feed, as well as cases of bird flu in poultry.

In supermarkets across the United States, customers have been hesitating whether to stick with tradition and buy the turkey or not, like Roger, a customer at a high-end Washington DC establishment who did not give his real name, who this year He has raised not cooking it because of its high price.

Another user of a different supermarket in the District of Columbia, where the capital is located, and who also preferred anonymity, told EFE that she knows “people who have been seriously affected (by the famine) and have had to resort to banks of food and associations that bring food home”.

Despite the fact that Thanksgiving foods such as turkey, the filling and the mixture for the famous pumpkin pie have seen their price rise, fresh cranberries have dropped 14% of their cost this year, since the crop was also 5% higher than in 2021, Cryan noted.

The American Farm Bureau Federation survey also found differences between US regions, going from about $58 in the South to about $71 on the West Coast for the classic Thanksgiving basket.

According to the economic chief of the federation, since the publication of the survey, a week ago, there has been good news for Americans with the drop of 14% in the cost of frozen turkey.

Another report by economists at Wells Fargo bank argues that the difference between eating at home and going to a restaurant for Thanksgiving is not as pronounced, since one “could spend the same on a dish served in a restaurant as preparing it at home ”.

Famine reaches other sectors

Even so, it is not only food that bears the brunt of inflation, the cost of gas, cars, rent and electricity were also affected this year, economist Richard Roberts, a professor at Monmouth University, told EFE. (New Jersey) and former Federal Reserve executive.

Roberts considered that “strong inflation was partly the result of good intentions”, although he recognized the role of “excessive measures taken by politicians in Congress and by the Federal Reserve to stimulate consumer spending in response to covid-19 ”.

The famine has also led to Americans not being able to return home to celebrate Thanksgiving with their families, due to the high prices of flights and other types of transportation.

However, the American Automobile Association has predicted that this will be one of the years in which more people will drive to their destinations, despite the inflation in fuel prices.

A recent graduate student from American University in Washington DC, Jack Ryan, told EFE that he has spent two weeks periodically looking at flights to “find something reasonable” that would allow him to return to California from the capital, where he currently resides, and that he has been about to stay because of how expensive they were, although he will finally travel to see his family.

“I don’t know if it’s due to inflation or because this is the first year in which many more people feel comfortable traveling to see family during the holidays” since the start of the pandemic, he reflected.

Compared to the between US$400 and US$450 that he has paid in other years to be able to fly, for this occasion he has had to pay US$560, to which is added some US$40 for transportation to the airport. All this to be able to eat the turkey with his family.

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