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The Cost Of Thanksgiving's Meal Creeping Up

DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) - Is it costing more to put that Thanksgiving Feast on the table this year? Or are we just feeling it more? It depends on who you ask.

While strolling the colorful stalls at the Dallas Farmer's Market, Edy Robert's answer was an emphatic 'no.' Roberts is visiting friends in DeSoto for Thanksgiving, and as a Californian was hard pressed to complain about the cost of anything in Texas.

"I love Texas!" says Roberts. "The food is bigger, it's better and it's cheaper!" And don't get her started about the gas—a whopping 50 cents a gallon cheaper here.

Still, other shoppers say grocery bills are taking a bigger bite out of the family budget.

"A little higher prices, yeah… overall, mostly meat," says David Lindsay, Kemp.

Over the years, even small price hikes will add up. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, in 1986, the cost of the Thanksgiving Feast was $28.74. Today, that same meal for a family of ten costs $49.48.

Economists say food prices are up again slightly this year—with meat being the biggest contributor to the increase.

"During the drought in Texas, farmers had to get rid of those cows because there wasn't enough feed for them," says Roger Meiners, economics professor at the University of Texas at Austin. "So the size of the herd is down, the price of food is up, so beef prices can be expected to increase, probably poultry prices will rise, also."

So, if you're experiencing grocery store sticker shock—imagine the cost of providing Thanksgiving meals to tens of thousands.

"So, when you're going to the grocery store and you're filling your basket, and you're being surprised by the cost of something you're picking up… realize that we're doing the exact same thing, it's just tractor trailer loads," says Jan Pruitt, President and CEO of the North Texas Food Bank.

Pruitt says the Food Bank's battle with higher prices, is not a one-day endeavor.

"That's Thanksgiving Day, the day after Thanksgiving, that's 365 days out of the year… 130,000 meals [daily] out to those in need." The food bank distributes through a network of some 1100 agencies.

So, even if you are paying more for that Thanksgiving feast, some shoppers say it is good to remember the reason for the season.

"It's all relative," says Roberts. "I think we just all have to be thankful that we've got food and we've got a job and to think about those people that don't."

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