Farm Bureau survey shows Thanksgiving dinner cost 20%
Spending time with family and friends at Thanksgiving remains important to many Americans, and this year the cost of the meal is also a priority. The Farm Bureau’s 37th Annual Survey provides insight into the average cost of this year’s classic Thanksgiving feast for 10, or $64.05 or less than $6.50 per person. This is an increase of $10.74 or 20% over last year’s average of $53.31.
The centerpiece of most Thanksgiving tables – the turkey – costs more than last year, at $28.96 for a 16-pound bird. That’s $1.81 a pound, up 21% from a year ago, due to several factors beyond general inflation. The Farm Bureau’s “volunteer shoppers” checked prices Oct. 18-31, before most grocery store chains began offering whole frozen turkeys at significantly lower prices. According to data from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, the average characteristic price per pound for frozen whole turkeys was $1.11 the week of November 3-9 and 95 cents the week of November 10-16, or down 14% in just one week. ; and the share of stores offering characteristic prices increased from 29% to 60%. This means that consumers who have yet to purchase a turkey should be able to find one at a lower price than the Farm Bureau average.
“General inflation that reduces consumer purchasing power is a significant contributing factor to the increase in the average cost of Thanksgiving dinner this year,” said AFBF chief economist Roger Cryan. General inflation has been 7% to 9% over the past few months, while the latest Consumer Price Index report for food eaten at home shows a 12% increase over the last year.
“Other factors contributing to the increased cost of the meal include supply chain disruptions and the war in Ukraine,” Cryan said. “The higher retail turkey cost at the grocery store can also be attributed to a slightly smaller flock this year, higher feed costs and lighter processing weights.” Cryan said the supply of whole turkeys available to consumers should be adequate this year, although there may be temporary regional shortages in some states where bird flu was detected earlier this year.
“Farmers are working hard to meet the growing demand for food — here in the United States and around the world — while dealing with rising prices for fuel, fertilizer and other inputs,” Cryan said.
The Farm Bureau’s informal survey shopping list includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, butter rolls, peas, cranberries, vegetable platter, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, coffee and milk, all in sufficient quantities to serve a family of 10 with plenty for leftovers.
“We must not take our food supply for granted,” said Zippy Duvall, president of the AFBF. “Supporting sustainable productive agriculture in the United States and around the world is imperative. As many of us gather with family and friends for a special meal, now is a time to give thanks and do our part to help those who cannot afford a grand feast,” said he added. “Local and state agricultural offices across the country have strong partnerships with local food banks and I’m proud of their collective efforts to help ensure no one goes hungry.”
In recognition of changes in Thanksgiving dinner traditions, the Farm Bureau’s price survey also includes frozen ham, Russet potatoes and green beans, in an expanded holiday menu. Adding these foods to the classic Thanksgiving menu increased the overall cost by $17.25, to $81.30. This updated food basket has also increased in price (up 18%) compared to 2021.
This year’s national average cost was calculated using 224 surveys completed with rate data from all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers checked prices in person and online using grocery store apps and websites. They searched for the best possible prices without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or shopping offers.
The AFBF’s Thanksgiving Dinner Survey was first conducted in 1986. The informal survey provides a record of the comparative costs of holiday meals over the years. Farm Bureau’s classic survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.