“When you go to the grocery store and it feels more expensive, that’s because it is,” Veronica Nigh, senior economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation, said in a recent report on the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner in 2021.
The Farm Bureau’s 36th annual Thanksgiving dinner cost survey found the average cost for this year’s holiday meal for 10 is $53.31, a 14 percent, or $6.41, increase from last year’s average of $46.90. Last year’s price was the lowest since 2010.
Turkey averaged $23.99 for a 16-pound bird, or about $1.50 a pound, up 24 percent from last year.
But the Farm Bureau said there are several mitigating factors.
Volunteer shoppers from the Farm Bureau checked turkey prices between Oct. 26 and Nov. 8, which is consistent with past surveys.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service data reported that grocery stories began advertising lower prices for turkeys later this year.
“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 percent in just one week,” the Farm Bureau stated on its website. “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.”
“Several factors contributed to the increase in average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner,” Nigh said. “These include dramatic disruptions to the U.S. economy and supply chains over the last 20 months; inflationary pressure throughout the economy; difficulty in predicting demand during the COVID-19 pandemic; and high global demand for food, particularly meat.
“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 prepandemic prices in 2019.”
The Farm Bureau’s shopping list includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk, enough to serve a family of 10 with leftovers.
“Taking turkey out of the basket of foods reveals a 6.6 percent 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 also did a survey with an expanded menu, including all of the original items, plus ham, russet potatoes and frozen green beans.
Adding these foods to the menu increases the overall cost by $15.41 to $68.72. It also increases the price, up 14 percent, compared to 2020.
The individual prices break down as:
• 16-pound turkey: $23.99 or approximately $1.50 per pound, up 24 percent.
• 2 frozen pie crusts: $2.91, up 20 percent.
• 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix: $3.64, up 7 percent.
Half pint of whipping cream: $1.78, up 2 percent.
• 1 dozen dinner rolls: $3.05, up 15 percent.
• 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries: $2.98, up 11 percent.
• 1 gallon of whole milk: $3.30, up 7 percent.
• 1 pound of frozen peas: $1.54, up 6 percent.
• 3 pounds of sweet potatoes: $3.56, up 4 percent.
• 1-pound veggie tray (carrots and celery): 82 cents, up 12 percent.
• Miscellaneous ingredients to prepare the meal: $3.45, up 12 percent.
• 14-ounce bag of cubed stuffing mix: $2.29, down 19 percent.