How much does a traditional Thanksgiving meal cost in the U.S Virgin Islands?

An American Farm Bureau survey found that this year, Americans on average will spend around $53.31 on their Thanksgiving meal, a number that’s up 14% from last year.

The amount is about $33 less than what Virgin Islanders can expect to pay.

After visiting grocers on St. Thomas, The Daily News found local shoppers can expect to pay around $87.19 for their Thanksgiving feast.

Virgin Islanders may be used to paying more for goods, but this year they might be surprised. Nationwide the price of goods has surged for a number of reasons, according to Veronica Nigh, the senior economist with the American Farm Bureau.

“These include dramatic disruptions to the U.S. economy and supply chains over the last 20 months; inflationary pressure throughout the economy; difficulty in predicting demand during the COVID-19 pandemic and high global demand for food, particularly meat,” Nigh in the survey.

V.I. business owners say they are feeling the crunch.

“The price of container shipping for us has gone up between 20% to 40% since the beginning of the COVID-19,” said Willie Hamed, co-owner of The Market, which has locations on both St. Croix and St. Thomas, and Moe’s Fresh Market, currently with three locations on St. Thomas.

“The other factor is WAPA, we pay one of the highest rates in the world for electricity,” Hamed said.

In addition to the increase in shipping and electricity costs, Hamed also attributes taxes to higher-priced goods.

“If we’re buying the product from Florida, and it’s already taxed to be in the USA — bringing it down here we still have to pay an additional 6% duty on items that are foreign. It’s like double taxation,” said Hamed.

The added logistical hurdles, and electrifying power bills, tack on a whopping $33.88 to the price of a V.I. thanksgiving meal, most of that cost coming from the turkey. A Butterball turkey on St. Thomas costs $2.49 per pound, a whole $1.40 more than the average in Atlanta, where the same turkey can be found for $1.09 per pound.

According to The Farm Bureaus’ menu, their shopping list for a family of 10 included staples such as turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, buttered rolls, peas, cranberries, veggies, pumpkin pie and coffee with cream and sugar. Their Thanksgiving menu has remained unchanged since the first year it was conducted in 1986.