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Survey shows Thanksgiving dinner costs up 20 percent

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Spending time with family and friends at Thanksgiving remains important for many Americans and this year the cost of the meal is also top of mind. Farm Bureau’s 37th annual survey provides a snapshot of the average cost of this year’s classic Thanksgiving feast for 10, which is $64.05 or less than $6.50 per person. This is a $10.74 or 20 percent increase from last year’s average of $53.31.

The centerpiece on most Thanksgiving tables — the turkey — costs more than last year, at $28.96 for a 16-pound bird. That’s $1.81 per pound, up 21 percent from last year, due to several factors beyond general inflation.

Image by Bearok, Shutterstock

This year’s national average cost was calculated using 224 surveys completed by Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers from all 50 states, recording pricing data in person and online using grocery store apps and websites from Oct. 18-31.

According to Michigan Farm Bureau Senior Industry Relations Specialist Ernie Birchmeier, that was before most grocery store chains began featuring whole frozen turkeys at sharply lower prices.

“Many stores are offering loss leader pricing on turkey and promotions on other items to get shoppers in the door, which can be a good way to bring down the cost of the meal,” Birchmeier noted.

According to USDA 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 percent in just one week; and the share of stores offering feature prices rose from 29 percent to 60 percent.

Image courtesy of AFBF

“This means consumers who have not yet purchased a turkey should be able to find one at a lower cost than the Farm Bureau survey average,” Birchmeier suggested.

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%)

In recognition of changes in Thanksgiving dinner traditions, the Farm Bureau price survey also includes ham, Russet potatoes and frozen 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 basket of foods also increased in price (up 18 percent) compared to 2021.

Michigan Farm Bureau Lead Economist Loren Koeman said the price increase is a burden on families, but added there’s no reason to worry about food availability.

“American agriculture is strong, and the system is not broken,” said Michigan Farm Bureau Lead Economist Loren Koeman. “A lot of disruptions in supply chain are affecting people all around the world. Like every year, though, there will be enough food. At just under $6.50 per person for a family of 10, Americans still enjoy one of the most affordable food supplies in the world.”

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