US Thanksgiving dinner cost jumps

Adjusted for inflation, Thanksgiving costs are up 7% higher from last year
calendar icon 20 November 2021
clock icon 3 minute read

Thanksgiving dinner will cost US consumers an average of 14% more this year in the biggest annual increase in 31 years, the American Farm Bureau Federation found in its 36th annual survey. Consumers should still be able to find deals, though.

AFBF Senior Economist Veronica Nigh pointed to dramatic disruptions to the US economy and supply chains, as well as inflationary pressure, as the causes of the jump.

"The trend of consumers cooking and eating at home more often due to the pandemic led to increased supermarket demand and higher retail food prices in 2020 and 2021, compared to pre-pandemic prices in 2019," she said.

According to the survey, the average cost of a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people rose to $53.31 from a ten-year low of $46.90 in 2020. The cost is based on Farm Bureau shoppers who checked prices for turkey, cranberries, dinner rolls and other staples in stores from Oct. 26 to Nov. 8.

“Taking turkey out of the basket of foods reveals a 6.6% price increase compared to last year, which tracks closely with the Consumer Price Index for food and general inflation across the economy,” said Nigh.

The Farm Bureau price survey also includes ham, Russet potatoes and frozen green beans in its expanded menu. Adding these foods to the classic Thanksgiving menu increased the overall cost by $15.41, to $68.72.

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.

Melanie Epp

Melanie Epp is a freelance agricultural journalist from Ontario, Canada.

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