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Cost of Thanksgiving Dinner Decreases From 2016

By Staff | Nov 21, 2017

After having to pay out a little more to put the traditional Thanksgiving feast on the table last year, consumers will get a welcome break as they shop this week. Information released by the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 32nd annual price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $49.12, a 75-cent decrease from last year’s average of $49.87.

The biggest change in the cost of the Thanksgiving menu for this year was the most obvious – the big ticket item a 16-pound turkey came in at a total of $22.38 this year. That’s roughly $1.40 per pound, a decrease of two-cents per pound, or a total of 36 cents per whole turkey, compared to 2016. In 2016, turkey supplies were greatly reduced due to the Avian Flue outbreak in the midwest, which had a profound effect on turkey flocks and thusly, the supply of the Thanksgiving meal staple.

According to the American Farm Bureau Federations, Dr. John Newton, Director of Market Intelligence, the cost has declined from the 1-16 average price of $49.71, or $4.85 per person for a 10-person meal.

“The cost of the dinner is the lowest its been since 2013, when the cost was the second-lowest since 2011,” Dr. Newton noted.”Even as America’s family farmers and ranchers continue to face economic challenges, they remain committed to providing a safe, abundant and affordable food supply for consumers at Thanksgiving and throughout the year.”

The shopping list for Farm Bureau’s informal survey includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty for leftovers.

Consumers continue to see lower retail turkey prices due to continued large inventory in cold storage, which is up almost double digits from last year, Newton explained.

Along with the cost of the turkey for this year’s feasting, other foods showing the largest decreases this year were a gallon of milk; a dozen dinner rolls; two nine-inch pie shells; a three-pound bag of sweet potatoes; a one-pound bag of green peas; and a group of miscellaneous items including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal (butter, evaporated milk, onions, eggs, sugar and flour).

“Milk production has increased, resulting in continued low retail prices,” Newton said.

After adjusting for inflation, the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner is $20.54, the lowest level since 2013.

A total of 141 volunteer shoppers checked prices at grocery stores in 39 states for this year’s survey.

The American Farm Bureau Federation does not make any scientific claims about the data, it is an informal gauge of price trends around the nation. Farm Bureau’s survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.