The price of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner cooked at home is expected to be lower this year compared to last year, thanks to a decrease in the cost of the centerpiece dish: the turkey.
According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the cost of a Thanksgiving feast for 10 people has dropped by 4.5% from last year's high to $61.17 this year. This means that the average cost per person is $6.12.
Nearly half of the total cost is attributed to the price of a 16-pound frozen whole turkey, which has decreased by 5.6% from last year to $27.35. This drop can be attributed to turkey flocks recovering from avian influenza, which caused an epidemic last year and contributed to the record-high price of the 2022 Thanksgiving meal, priced at around $64.05.
The Farm Bureau Federation has been conducting this survey annually for 38 years, enlisting volunteer shoppers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico to record prices while visiting their local grocery stores.
The remaining estimated cost of the traditional meal includes stuffing, sweet potatoes, dinner rolls, frozen peas, fresh cranberries, celery, carrots, pumpkin pie mix, pie shells, whipping cream, and whole milk. Prices for these items were collected from various stores.
For those who want to include additional dishes such as boneless ham, russet potatoes, and frozen green beans, the cost of this year's Thanksgiving meal would increase to $84.75, or $8.48 per person, according to the survey.
Thanksgiving Food Prices in 2020
The cost of Thanksgiving meals has seen a mix of price increases and decreases this year. Canned pumpkin pie mix experienced a notable increase of 3.8%, while dinner rolls rose by 3% per dozen. On the other hand, whipping cream saw a significant drop of 23%, and fresh cranberries decreased by 18%. These changes in prices can be attributed to a larger supply and increased imports, mainly from Canada, as reported by the Cranberry Marketing Committee.
It's important to note that the survey does not include promotions where grocery stores offer free turkeys to customers who are members of their loyalty clubs and meet a certain spending threshold in November. Additionally, the survey does not account for other food items that Americans typically include in their Thanksgiving meals, such as appetizers, a variety of desserts, and other family favorites.
Despite some decreases in prices, the overall cost of Thanksgiving for a party of 10 is still 25% higher compared to 2019. Interestingly, the cost of the traditional Thanksgiving meal is highest in the Northeast, amounting to $64.38, while it is cheapest in the Midwest, at $58.66.
It is worth mentioning that despite food inflation and supply chain challenges, Americans spend a relatively low portion of their disposable income on food. In fact, according to the Agriculture Department's tracking of 104 countries, Americans spend approximately 6.7% of their income on food, which is the lowest percentage among these countries. For comparison, people in Singapore spend 8.4% of their income on food, whereas in Nigeria, the figure stands at a staggering 59%, as reported by the Farm Bureau Federation.