WASHINGTON — Enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends is a priority for many Americans, but paying attention to how the meal will impact the budget is also important.
Farm bureau’s 36th annual survey indicates the average cost of this year’s classic Thanksgiving feast for 10 is $53.31 or less than $6 per person. This is a $6.41 or 14% increase from last year’s average of $46.90.
The centerpiece on most Thanksgiving tables — the turkey — costs more than last year, at $23.99 for a 16-pound bird. That’s roughly $1.50 per pound, up 24% from last year, but there are several mitigating factors.
Farm bureau “volunteer shoppers” checked prices Oct. 26 to Nov. 8, about two weeks before most grocery store chains began featuring whole frozen turkeys at sharply lower prices.
Although the survey timeline is consistent with past AFBF Thanksgiving surveys, 2021 brought some unique differences. According to USDA Agricultural Marketing Service data, grocery stores began advertising lower feature prices later than usual this year.
Also, the average per-pound feature price for whole frozen turkeys was $1.07 the week of Nov. 5-11 and 88 cents the week of Nov. 12-18, a decline of 18% in just one week. This means consumers who have not yet purchased a turkey should be able to find one at a lower cost than the farm bureau average.
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 $15.41, to $68.72.
This updated basket of foods also increased in price (up 14%) compared to 2020.
This year’s national average cost was calculated using 218 surveys completed with pricing 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 looked for the best possible prices without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals.
- 16-pound turkey: $23.99 or approximately $1.50 per pound (up 24%)
- 2 frozen pie crusts: $2.91 (up 20%)
- 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix: $3.64 (up 7%)
- Half pint of whipping cream: $1.78 (up 2%)
- 1 dozen dinner rolls: $3.05 (up 15%)
- 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries: $2.98 (up 11%)
- 1 gallon of whole milk: $3.30 (up 7%)
- 1 pound of frozen peas: $1.54 (up 6%)
- 3 pounds of sweet potatoes: $3.56 (up 4%)
- 1-pound veggie tray (carrots & celery): 82 cents (up 12%)
- 14-ounce bag of cubed stuffing mix: $2.29 (down 19%)
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