Food Fair Fresh Market is located at Del Valle Square on 163rd Street. photo by Zachary Zawila.

Editor’s note:  Here is an update on last week’s holiday dinner story and price table, reflecting price reductions ranging up to 22% that most stores have made since last week as a result of holiday sales and discounts. 

Holiday season is almost here, and a question on everyone’s mind, as inflation affects the holidays and food prices keep going up, is: how much will my holiday meals cost?

South Bronx residents say they are familiar with the problem.

“Everything is too expensive—rent, food,” said Beatriz Campos, a home health aide who works in Longwood. “I work 61 hours a week just to be able to pay for food.”

Here in the South Bronx, the average Thanksgiving dinner from our sample basket cost $50.37 this week—roughly a dinner for five, although expect turkey leftovers. Eight stores across Mott Haven, Melrose, Woodstock, Longwood, and Hunts Point were surveyed on 11/10/2023 for their prices on Thanksgiving items, with our findings shown here.

Shopping options beyond these stores and sometimes beyond the South Bronx exist, varying in price as well as brand choices. With five locations across the Bronx, Food Bazaar charges $54.49 for the same basket. At Target, it will be $47.15 with a few substitutions. In Harlem, LIDL will sell you the order for $46.90, but with store brands replacing national brands. Fresh Direct, based in Port Morris, will deliver the order—but for a cost of $96.07, including a $6 delivery fee.  In New Jersey, the basket will run you $91.54 at a Kings Supermarket.

Among our stores surveyed this week, Food Universe on 161st Street in Melrose was the least expensive, with our sample basket priced at $31.51. CTown at Southern and Longwood was the most expensive, with the total coming in at $69.37.

But there is a catch: many of the stores with least expensive pricing require a minimum additional purchase, such as turkey selling for $0.69/pound with an additional $50 purchase – or $1.99/pound without that.  Regardless of minimum purchases and sale conditions, such as “must buy three,” Food Universe was still the least expensive.

Why are prices so different?

Annette Nielsen, the executive director of Hunter College’s New York City Food Policy Center, said she observes the same variations where she lives in Harlem.

“Sometimes, it’s linked to different supply chains,” she said. “And sometimes stores take advantage of customers.”

“Transportation access is unequal across the city,” added Nielsen, saying that many shoppers are unable to travel farther for lower prices.

Some of the prices shown here are sales that require a minimum purchase or some other condition. See the notes below for details.

Week 2 Notes:

*Turkey requires $200 minimum purchase, otherwise 2.49/lb.
**Turkey requires $125 minimum purchase, otherwise 2.49/lb.
***Cranberry sauce must buy 3, otherwise $2.99. Stuffing must buy 2, otherwise $3.69.
#Turkey requires $50 minimum purchase, otherwise $1.99/lb. Stuffing must buy 2, otherwise 2.99. Gravy must buy 3, or 1.67 otherwise.
## Turkey requires $50 minimum purchase, $2.29 otherwise. Gravy must buy 3, $1.67 otherwise. Stuffing must buy 2, $2.99 otherwise.
### Turkey requires $100 purchase. $1.99/lb otherwise. Stuffing requires $10 purchase, $2.99 otherwise.

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