Gathering around the table for a Thanksgiving dinner will cost less this year compared to 2022, but the meal still reflects historically high costs. The American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) 38th annual survey provides a snapshot of the average cost of this year’s classic holiday feast for 10, which is $61.17 or less than $6.20 per person.
This is a 4.5% decrease from last year’s record-high average of $64.05, but a Thanksgiving meal is still 25% higher than it was in 2019, which highlights the impact high supply costs and inflation have had on food prices since before the pandemic.
The centerpiece on most Thanksgiving tables – the turkey – helped bring down the overall cost of dinner. The average price for a 16-pound turkey is $27.35. That is $1.71 per pound, down 5.6% from last year.
“Turkey makes up most of the cost of a traditional Thanksgiving meal,” said Michigan Farm Bureau Senior Industry Relations Specialist Ernie Birchmeier. “Thanks to a major drop in cases of avian influenza, which has allowed production to increase in time for the holiday, families will see lower turkey prices this year.”
According to USDA Agricultural Marketing Service data, the average per-pound feature price for whole frozen turkeys declined further during the second week of November. Consumers who have not yet purchased a turkey may find additional savings in the days leading up to Thanksgiving.
"While prices are still higher than in some recent years, America continues to have one of the world’s most affordable food supplies," said Michigan Farm Bureau Lead Economist Loren Koeman.
"However, the pressures of inflation are impacting farmers, who see an average of just 14 cents of each dollar spent on food. It’s critical that Congress makes a commitment to passing a new, modernized farm bill to provide a safety net for those who raise the crops and livestock that make our Thanksgiving meals possible."
The shopping list for Farm Bureau’s informal survey includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, and pumpkin pie with whipped cream, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty of leftovers.
"Farmers are price takers, not price makers, and are not able to set the prices that they sell their commodities for," Koeman noted. "For example, while the cost of dinner rolls is up 2.9%, the price of the wheat used to make those rolls fell more than 20% compared to a year ago."
This year’s national average cost was calculated using 245 surveys completed with pricing data from all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers checked prices Nov. 1-6, before most grocery store chains began featuring whole frozen turkeys at sharply lower prices.
The AFBF Thanksgiving dinner survey was first conducted in 1986. The informal survey provides a record of comparative holiday meal costs over the years.
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