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Farm Bureau Survey: Thanksgiving Dinner Costs Increase

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Sonora, CA — The Farm Bureau has put out its annual survey detailing the average cost of a classic Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people. Farm Bureau’s 37th annual survey shows an increase of 20% with details on what to do to bring down the cost.

The centerpiece on most Thanksgiving tables – the turkey – costs $28.96 for a 16-pound bird. That’s $1.81 per pound, up 21% from last year, due to several factors beyond general inflation. Farm Bureau “volunteer shoppers” checked prices across the country and provided 224 surveys from Oct. 18-31, before most grocery store chains began featuring whole frozen turkeys at sharply lower prices. According to USDA Agricultural Marketing Service data, the average per-pound feature price for whole frozen turkeys was $1.11 the week of Nov. 3-9 and .95 cents the week of Nov. 10-16, a decline of 14% in just one week; and the share of stores offering feature prices rose from 29% to 60%. Consumers who have not yet purchased a turkey should be able to find one at a lower cost than the Farm Bureau average.

American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Chief Economist Roger Cryan says, “General inflation slashing the purchasing power of consumers is a significant factor contributing to the increase in average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner.” He states, “General inflation has been running 7% to 9% in recent months, while the most recent Consumer Price Index report for food consumed at home reveals a 12% increase over the past year. Other contributing factors to the increased cost for the meal include supply chain disruptions and the war in Ukraine.” Cryan noted a slightly smaller flock this year, increased feed costs and lighter processing weights but added the supply of whole turkeys available to consumers should be adequate this year, although there may be temporary, regional shortages in some states where avian influenza was detected earlier this year.

The AFBF Thanksgiving dinner survey was first conducted in 1986. The informal survey provides a record of comparative holiday meal costs over the years. Farm Bureau’s classic survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons of turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, coffee and milk.

Individual Prices

  • 16-pound turkey: $28.96 or $1.81 per pound (up 21%)
  • 14-ounce bag of cubed stuffing mix: $3.88 (up 69%)
  • 2 frozen pie crusts: $3.68 (up 26%)
  • Half pint of whipping cream: $2.24 (up 26%)
  • 1 pound of frozen peas: $1.90 (up 23%)
  • 1 dozen dinner rolls: $3.73 (up 22%)
  • Misc. ingredients to prepare the meal: $4.13 (up 20%)
  • 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix: $4.28 (up 18%)
  • 1 gallon of whole milk: $3.84 (up 16%)
  • 3 pounds of sweet potatoes: $3.96 (up 11%)
  • 1-pound veggie tray (carrots & celery): 88 cents (up 8%)
  • 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries: $2.57 (down 14%)

Regional Averages

AFBF analysis revealed regional differences in the cost of the meal.

The cost for the classic meal was the most affordable in the South – $58.42, followed by the Northeast – $64.02, Midwest – $64.26 and West – $71.37. The expanded meal (classic meal plus ham, green beans and Russet potatoes) was the most affordable in the South – $74.90, followed by the Midwest – $81.53, Northeast – $82.76 and West – $88.55.

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