U.S. consumers are spending less on “the feast of the year” this year. The average cost of the 2017 Thanksgiving Day dinner for 10 is $49.12, a 75-cent decrease from last year’s average of $49.87, according to The American Farm Bureau Federation’s 32nd annual price survey.
The big ticket item – a 16-pound turkey – came in at a total of $22.38 this year. That’s roughly $1.40 per pound, a decrease of 2 cents per pound, or a total of 36 cents per whole turkey, compared to 2016.
“For the second consecutive year, the overall cost of Thanksgiving dinner has declined,” AFBF Director of Market Intelligence Dr. John Newton said. “The cost of the dinner is the lowest since 2013 and second-lowest since 2011. Even as America’s family farmers and ranchers continue to face economic challenges, they remain committed to providing a safe, abundant and affordable food supply for consumers at Thanksgiving and throughout the year.”
The shopping list for Farm Bureau’s informal survey includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty for leftovers.
Consumers continue to see lower retail turkey prices due to continued large inventory in cold storage, which is up almost double digits from last year, Newton explained.
Foods showing the largest decreases this year in addition to turkey, were a gallon of milk; a dozen rolls; two nine-inch pie shells; a 3-pound bag of sweet potatoes; a 1-pound bag of green peas; and a group of miscellaneous items including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal (butter, evaporated milk, onions, eggs, sugar, and flour).
“Milk production has increased, resulting in continued low retail prices,” Newton said.
After adjusting for inflation, the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner is $20.54, the lowest level since 2013.
A total of 141 volunteer shoppers checked prices at grocery stores in 39 states for this year’s survey.
Farm Bureau does not make any scientific claims about the data, it is an informal gauge of price trends around the nation. Farm Bureau’s survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.