NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


December 2, 2008

Most people know that eating organic costs more.  But according to, Thanksgiving diners may have paid as much as $100 extra for an organic holiday meal.

The financial advice Web site went shopping to find out how much extra consumers have to pay to get organic versions of traditional holiday foods.  Creating a shopping list for a traditional menu to serve eight people, they selected organic and nonorganic foods from a Whole Foods, Associated Supermarket and a Food Emporium, all located in New York City.

According to SmartMoney:

  • The organic version of our turkey-day menu for eight people -- including dinner rolls, a salad and three bottles of organic wine -- totaled $295.36.
  • That puts the organic premium for the meal at $126.35, or 75 percent, compared with the same shopping list filled with nonorganic options.

Here's a sample comparing the prices of organic and nonorganic Thanksgiving foods:

  • Turkey (20 pounds) $99.80 vs. $23.80
  • Vanilla ice cream (3 quarts) $21.87 vs. $15.98
  • Yams (5 lbs.) $9.95 vs. $3.95
  • Broccoli (2 lbs.) $5.98 vs. $3.98
  • Heavy whipping cream (2 pints) $5.58 vs. $4.00
  • 2 cans of pumpkin filling $5.00 vs. $3.19
  • 1 bag cranberries $4.99 vs. $2.49

So is it worth it?  Health experts are divided on whether consumers derive any real health benefits by choosing organic foods. 

Source:  Tara Parker-Pope, "Paying Extra for an Organic Thanksgiving; Cooking organic? It may cost you," New York Times, November 24, 2008.

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