One thing U.S. troops may be thankful for this Thanksgiving is that they can still afford the dinner.

While food prices overall have increased, they’ve gone up less at commissaries serving American servicemembers and their families.

The price of groceries has gone up 7.2 percent from September 2007 to September 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

That means the cost of a holiday dinner will be a bit more expensive: The average price of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for 10 this year is $44.61 — an increase of $2.35, according to the American Farm Bureau.

The organization conducts annual price surveys on items that go into the typical holiday meal. The survey, compiled by 179 volunteer shoppers in 38 states, priced everything from the turkey to dessert, and also included the cost of cranberries, rolls, stuffing, vegetables and other ingredients.

The biggest price increase was with the main course. The average cost of a 16-pound turkey went from $17.63 to $19.09. All other price increases were relatively minor, and the price of a gallon of milk went down.

There’s good news for military commissary shoppers. Using the same survey parameters, the prices for their holiday meal ingredients are substantially less. The same meal for 10 costs $34.24, a savings of about 23 percent compared to stateside retail grocery prices, according to Kay Blakley, Defense Commissary Agency, Europe home economist.

Again, the cost of the bird is a big reason why. Commissaries are selling turkey at 99 cents a pound, while the stateside average is $1.19 a pound.

"If you’ve ever wondered if your commissary benefit is a good deal, here is one example, based on solid fact," Blakley said.

The complete American Farm Bureau survey is available at their Web site.

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