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The rising cost of Thanksgiving: By the numbers
Turkeys are selling for record high prices — while the average Thanksgiving calorie count shows no sign of dropping
The average American will consume 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving day.
The average American will consume 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving day.
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et's talk turkey. According to commodities researchers, Thanksgiving birds are going for record high prices this year, thanks to the rising cost of corn, the key component of a turkey's diet. "The fundamental reason why you're seeing record-high turkey prices is the fact we're seeing record-high costs of raising turkeys," says Tom Elam, a food industry and agriculture consultant based in Indiana. Here, a data-based guide to the Thanksgiving meal:

$1.57
Retail price per pound of whole frozen turkey, as of September, the highest since 1980, and a 7.7 percent increase from last year

$1.09
Wholesale price per pound of frozen turkey, as of last week — an all-time record, according to Russell Whitman, a commodity researcher

$.40
Price per pound for which Walmart sold turkeys last year after it slashed prices. Don't expect to see those kind of prices this year, says Elam.

70 percent
Approximate portion of a turkey's diet that's made up of corn

47 percent
Increase in the price of corn over the past year

241.9 million
The number of turkeys produced in the U.S. this year, according to the USDA

273 million
The number of turkeys produced in the U.S. in 2008, according to the USDA

4,500
The number of calories the average American consumes on Thanksgiving Day, according to the Calorie Control Council, as stated in a 2007 New York Times article

290
The number of calories in a Healthy Choice brand "Golden Turkey Breast" meal, which includes turkey, gravy, dressing, a vegetable, and a cherry-blueberry crisp

8
The average stomach capacity, in cups
 
1,500
The approximate number of calories one needs to consume in a single sitting before the gut releases a hormone that causes nausea

Sources: Bloomberg, New York Times, California Farm Bureau Federation, healthychoice.com

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