Enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends is a priority for many Americans, but it’s also important to pay attention to the impact of the meal on the budget. The 36th Annual Farm Bureau Survey shows that the average cost of this year’s classic Thanksgiving feast for 10 people is $ 53.31 or less than $ 6 per person. This is an increase of $ 6.41 or 14% from last year’s average of $ 46.90.
The centerpiece of most Thanksgiving tables, the turkey, costs more than last year, at $ 23.99 for a 16-pound bird. That’s about $ 1.50 a pound, up 24% from last year, but there are several mitigating factors.
Farm Bureau’s “volunteer buyers” checked prices from Oct. 26 to Nov. 8, about two weeks before most grocery chains started offering frozen whole turkeys at significantly lower prices. While the survey timeline is consistent with previous AFBF Thanksgiving surveys, 2021 brought some unique differences.
According to data from the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, grocery stores began posting lower-than-usual prices this year. In addition, the average price per pound of frozen whole turkeys was $ 1.07 for the week of November 5-11 and 88 cents for the week of November 12-18, an 18% drop in just one week. This means that consumers who have not yet purchased a turkey should be able to find one for less than the Farm Bureau average.
“Several factors have contributed to the increase in the average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner,” said Veronica Nigh, AFBF senior economist. “These include dramatic disruptions to the US economy and supply chains over the past 20 months; inflationary pressures throughout the economy; difficulty forecasting demand during the COVID-19 pandemic and strong global demand for food, especially meat, ”she explained. In addition, “the trend of consumers to cook and eat at home more often due to the pandemic has resulted in increased demand for supermarkets and higher retail food prices in 2020 and 2021, compared to at pre-pandemic prices in 2019. “
The shopping list for the Farm Bureau informal survey includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, butter buns, peas, cranberries, veggie platter, pumpkin pie with whipped cream and coffee and milk, all in sufficient quantities to serve a family of 10 with plenty for leftovers.
“Removing turkey from the food basket reveals a 6.6% price increase over last year, which closely tracks the consumer price index for food and general inflation in the industry. ‘whole economy,’ Nigh said.
In recognition of changes in Thanksgiving dinner traditions, the Farm Bureau’s pricing survey also includes frozen ham, Russet potatoes, and green beans, on an expanded holiday menu. Adding these foods to the classic Thanksgiving menu increased the overall cost by $ 15.41, to $ 68.72. This updated food basket also increased in price (up 14%) compared to 2020.
This year’s national average cost was calculated using 218 surveys completed with price 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.
State-specific data on the average Thanksgiving dinner cost is available from some farm offices, including Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
The AFBF Thanksgiving Dinner Survey was first conducted in 1986. The informal survey provides a comparative record of the costs of festive meals over the years. Farm Bureau’s classic survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.
16-pound turkey: $ 23.99 or about $ 1.50 per pound (up 24%)
2 frozen pie crusts: $ 2.91 (up to 20%)
30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix: $ 3.64 (up to 7%)
Half pint of whipping cream: $ 1.78 (up 2%)
1 dozen buns: $ 3.05 (up to 15%)
12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries: $ 2.98 (up 11%)
1 gallon of whole milk: $ 3.30 (up to 7%)
1 pound of frozen peas: $ 1.54 (+ 6%)
3 pounds of sweet potatoes: $ 3.56 (up 4%)
1-pound vegetable platter (carrots and celery): 82 cents (up to 12%)
Various ingredients to prepare the meal: $ 3.45 (up 12%)
14-ounce bag of cubed stuffing mix: $ 2.29 (down 19%)