Thanksgiving meal is more expensive this year

The cost of a Thanksgiving dinner is up 20 percent from last year, according to an American Farm Bureau survey.

Chief Economist Roger Cryan says the average cost of a Thanksgiving meal for 10 people is $64.05. “This is indicative of general inflation. General inflation is rising around eight percent year over year and that’s a serious issue. That’s not just transitory supply chain issues, a lot of it has to do with how the federal reserve bank has managed the money supply,” he says. “I’d also point out that although prices are up, the prices that farmers are paying for what they need to produce are also going up. Farmers have seen fuel prices double, and fertilizer prices triple. It’s a tough squeeze for a lot of farmers.”

The turkey is the most expensive food item in this year’s dinner. “We found a 16-pound turkey was $28.96, which was almost half of the basket,” he says. “That’s up 20 percent from last year and was a $1.81 per pound.”

He tells Brownfield there are other contributing factors. “Some of those increases of both farm supply prices and commodity prices ties back to the war in Ukraine and some of the other disruptions in the world that have raised some of the input costs for farmers above general inflation,” he says.

This is AFBF’s 37th annual survey that provides a snapshot of the average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner.

Cryan says the cost of Thanksgiving dinner continues to increase.

“The cost of (Thanksgiving) dinner is up almost every year. Last year it was up 14 percent from the year before that, so we’ve had a 36 percent increase in two years,” he says. “I would add that this is an informal survey. We collected prices from 50 states plus Puerto Rico. The prices are up but we conducted the survey in late October, before some of the turkey specials started. The good news is that a lot of folks have had the opportunity to find better prices as we’ve gotten closer to Thanksgiving, especially for the turkey.

The volunteer shoppers checked prices in grocery stores between Oct. 18-31.

The other food items on the shopping list include cranberries, sweet potatoes, carrots and celery, green peas, pie shells, cube stuffing, dinner rolls, pumpkin pie mix, coffee, whole milk, and whipped cream.

A 14-ounce bag of cubed stuffing mix is $3.88, up 69 percent; two frozen pie crusts are $3.68, up 26 percent; a half pint of whipping cream is $2.24, up 26 percent; one pound of frozen peas is $1.90, up 23 percent; one dozen dinner rolls is $3.73, up 22 percent; miscellaneous ingredients to prepare the meal cost $4.13, up 20 percent; a 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix is $4.28, up 18 percent; one gallon of whole milk is $3.84, up 16 percent; three pounds of sweet potatoes is $3.96, up 11 percent; a one-pound veggie tray of carrots and celery is 88 cents, up 8 percent; a 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries is $2.57, down 14 percent.

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

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

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.

AUDIO: Roger Cryan, American Farm Bureau