Thanksgiving dinner cost down after big jump last year

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 November 2023 at 8:54 am

Graphic from American Farm Bureau Federation

The cost for a classic Thanksgiving feast for 10 people is down about $3, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual marketbasket survey.

The cost is $61.17 this Thanksgiving or $6.12 a guest, down from $64.04 in 2022. The cost this year is still well above the $53.31 in 2021.

The American Farm Bureau Federation members go into grocery stores and check prices in all 50 states in Puerto Rico. They survey prices of the various items used to prepare a classic Thanksgiving feast – turkey, cubed stuffing, sweet potatoes, dinner rolls, frozen peas, fresh cranberries, celery, carrots, pumpkin pie mix, pie shells, whipping cream and whole milk.

To reflect an expanded Thanksgiving table, data on boneless ham, Russet potatoes and frozen green beans is also collected. When including the additional items, the cost of a Thanksgiving meal rose to $84.75 or $8.48 per person, Farm Bureau reported.

In the classic basket, seven of the 11 surveyed items saw a price decrease since last year, including turkey, cubed stuffing, frozen peas, cranberries, pie shells, whipping cream and whole milk. The price of four items rose in price year-over-year – the relish tray (a mix of fresh celery and carrots), sweet potatoes, dinner rolls and pumpkin pie mix, Farm Bureau reported.

A 16-pound frozen whole turkey accounts for 45 percent of the classic Thanksgiving feast at $27.35, a 5.6% decrease from 2022.

“Of all items surveyed this year, pumpkin pie mix ($4.44 per 30 oz. can) and dinner rolls ($3.84 per dozen) had the largest percent increase at 3.8% and 3.0% respectively,” Farm Bureau economist Betty Resnick stated. “Products with the largest percentage drop in prices included whipping cream ($1.73 per half pint) and fresh cranberries ($2.10 per 12 oz.) at a decrease of 22.8% and 18.3% respectively.”

The $61.17 price for the classic meal is the second highest in the survey’s 38 years.

“Despite challenges with inflation and the rising cost of food, farmers and ranchers are working hard each day to provide America with a safe and affordable food supply,” Resnick said in the report for the American Farm Bureau Federation. “Food security plays a significant role in national security, and an abundant and reliable food supply is essential for any free nation. So, this Thanksgiving, as you gather around the table with friends and family, let’s also give thanks to the hard work of farmers and ranchers in providing our food and the national security and well-being that go with it.”