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Thanksgiving dinner gets cheaper turkey, but cost of canned goods, sugar increases

Compared to last year, the cost of groceries rose 2.1%, leaving the consumer "still a little bearish on the economy."

A night of feasting will be easier on the wallet this Thanksgiving, but a few items' prices may still be hard to gobble down.

Grocery prices at supermarkets such as Kroger (KR), Albertsons (ACI), and others increased slightly in October, up 0.3% month over month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' October Consumer Price Index (CPI) released Tuesday. Compared to last year, the cost of food at home rose 2.1%.

Overall, consumer prices grew 3.2% in October over the prior year and were flat month over month.

"The grocery numbers are part of the explanation for why the consumer is still a little bearish on the economy," Sucharita Kodali, Forrester Research retail analyst, told Yahoo Finance, "Even though gas prices, energy prices are down, the food number is the most visible, that's what you see in the grocery store. People are often [grocery] shopping ... multiple times a week."

Though Thanksgiving's star bird will be cheaper this year, other staples like flour, sugar, and potatoes are still seeing an increase in price.

To see how much each item will cost compared to last year, click on the graphics below.

Kicking off with the main course — turkey prices have dropped 16% as of Nov. 6, per Wells Fargo.

If you're looking for an alternative protein, chicken prices are down 0.4% year over year, while ham and pork are up slightly, 0.5% and 0.30%, respectively. Prices for beef roasts have risen 9.7% due to a slower-than-expected cattle supply recovery from the impact of the drought.

"The turkey is much more aggressive coming down on prices than we see on the ham ... if people are looking for their best bang for their buck, as the expression goes, the turkeys are going to give them that option this year," Wells Fargo agricultural economist Michael Swanson told Yahoo Finance over the phone.

When it comes to sides, canned goods are seeing an increase in price while fresh vegetables are coming down. While packaging costs have shot up, trucking prices have declined, explained Swanson. Fuel oil and other fuels are down 17% compared to a year ago, while fuel oil is down 0.8% compared to last month per the latest CPI data.

For those thinking of making a green bean casserole, canned green beans are up 9% year over year. Canned cranberries are up a whopping 60%, but in context of the typical price of canned cranberry, the overall cost is still on the low side, Swanson said. Canned cranberry sauce is up 7%. Fresh cranberries are down 20%.

Mashed potatoes and salads will be more affordable, with potatoes and lettuce down 3.3% and 4.5%, respectively. The "other vegetables" category is also seeing a 0.7% drop compared to last year, per the CPI.

Heavy rain and snow in California last winter have led to abundant water supply, a boost for lettuce production, according to Swanson.

On the other hand, prices for white bread increased 7.1%, while sweet potatoes went up 4%.

You can't have Thanksgiving dinner without the dessert (even if there's barely any room left).

Ingredients for pies are mixed. Flour is up 3.2% compared to last year, while sugar jumped 5.2%.

This comes as sugar futures (SB=F) are up nearly 40% year over year.

"A lot of that increase that you're seeing is attributed to what the world's supply is going to look like," Andraia Torsiello, Mintec US sugar analyst, told Yahoo Finance over the phone in October. "India is actually a major exporter and they've had really poor weather conditions, so they're suffering from a really dry monsoon period."

On the bright side, egg prices continue to trend lower year over year, down 22.2%. Dairy also dropped 0.4%.

If you're opting for an apple pie, good news there. Apple prices are down 3.9% compared to last year and was down 7.9% from September to October. That's the biggest monthly drop since 1987.

Swanson said the US saw a "much better apple harvest this year" after the "Pacific Northwest really got hammered with some high temperatures that really restricted apple production" last year.

And to top it all off, consumers may be saying "wine not" to a glass of wine over a beer. Wine prices are up 1% compared to last year, while beers have jumped more than 5% due to those higher packaging costs.

Read more inflation coverage:

Brooke DiPalma is a senior reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma or email her at

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