Farm Bureau survey shows cost of Thanksgiving meal up 20 percent
By Sean Ellis
Idaho Farm Bureau Federation
POCATELLO – The average cost for a traditional American Thanksgiving feast for 10 people is up 20 percent this year compared with last year.
That’s according to American Farm Bureau Federation’s 37th annual cost survey of traditional items found on a Thanksgiving Day dinner table.
That represents the highest year-over-year increase in the cost of the meal in the survey’s history, surpassing last year’s 14 percent increase, which was also a record at the time.
Over two years, the average cost of a traditional Thanksgiving meal for 10 people has risen 37 percent, according to the survey.
According to American Farm Bureau Federation economists, several factors are to blame for the increase, including general inflation.
“General inflation slashing the purchasing power of consumers is a significant factor contributing to the increase in average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner,” said AFBF Chief Economist Roger Cryan.
Supply chain disruptions and the war in Ukraine are other contributing factors to the increased cost for the meal, Cryan said.
He said the supply of whole turkeys available to consumers should be adequate this year, although there may be temporary, regional shortages in some states where avian influenza was detected earlier this year.
Idaho Farm Bureau Federation President Bryan Searle said there is no sugar-coating this year’s cost increase.
However, he added, it should be noted that farmers continue to work hard to meet growing U.S. and global demand for food while at the same time facing rapidly rising costs for farm inputs, including fuel and fertilizer.
“Idaho and U.S. farmers will continue to plow ahead with their usual food production plans in the coming year, despite a substantial increase in farm production costs,” said Searle, who farms in Shelley.
He also noted that state and county Farm Bureau organizations in Idaho and across the nation have strong partnerships with local food banks to help those who are least able to absorb increased food costs.
Searle said it’s important that people understand that the farmer’s share of the food dollar hasn’t changed despite the increases in food costs.
According to USDA’s Economic Research Service, farmers and ranchers on average receive only about 8 percent of every dollar spent on food in the United States.
AFBF’s 2022 Thanksgiving meal survey found that the average cost of this year’s classic Thanksgiving feast for 10 is $64.05, which is $10.74 or 20 percent higher than last year’s average of $53.31.
That works out to an average of $6.40 per person.
The average cost for the meal in 2020 was $46.90.
The shopping list for Farm Bureau’s informal survey includes turkey, 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 of leftovers.
This year’s national average cost was based off 224 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.
Those shoppers looked for the best possible prices without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals.
AFBF economists pointed out that it’s likely people who are shopping for Thanksgiving food items right now are getting discounts and other deals, which the Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers did not.
The average price for a 16-pound turkey according to this year’s survey was $28.96, or $1.81 per pound, which was an increase of 21 percent over last year.
The only item on the menu to decrease in price this year was cranberries. The average cost for a 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries was $2.57, down 14 percent from last year.
The AFBF Thanksgiving dinner survey was first conducted in 1986 and provides a record of comparative holiday meal costs over the years. Farm Bureau’s classic survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.
In recognition of changes in Thanksgiving dinner traditions, the 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 for this year’s meal by $17.25, to $81.30.
This updated basket of foods increased in price this year by 18 percent compared to 2021.
The average cost of 5 pounds of Russet potatoes came in at $3.64, which was an increase of 68 cents or 23 percent over last year.
- 16-pound turkey: $28.96 or $1.81 per pound (up 21%)
- 14-ounce bag of cubed stuffing mix: $3.88 (up 69%)
- 2 frozen pie crusts: $3.68 (up 26%)
- Half pint of whipping cream: $2.24 (up 26%)
- 1 pound of frozen peas: $1.90 (up 23%)
- 1 dozen dinner rolls: $3.73 (up 22%)
- ingredients to prepare the meal: $4.13 (up 20%)
- 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix: $4.28 (up 18%)
- 1 gallon of whole milk: $3.84 (up 16%)
- 3 pounds of sweet potatoes: $3.96 (up 11%)
- 1-pound veggie tray (carrots & celery): 88 cents (up 8%)
- 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries: $2.57 (down 14%)
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