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The Cost Of Thanksgiving Dinner


The American Farm Bureau Federation’s 33rd annual survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $48.90, or less than $5.00 per person. This is a 22-cent decrease from last year’s average of $49.12.

The featured food on most Thanksgiving tables – the turkey – cost slightly less than last year, coming in at $21.71 for a 16-pound bird. That’s roughly $1.36 per pound, down 3% from last year. The survey results show that retail turkey prices are the lowest since 2014.

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 for leftovers.

Items decreasing in price:

  • a gallon of milk, $2.92;
  • a 3-pound bag of sweet potatoes, $3.39;
  • a 1-pound bag of green peas, $1.47; and
  • a dozen rolls, $2.25.

Items increasing in price:

  • A 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries was $2.65;
  • a 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix was $3.33;
  • a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing was $2.87;
  • two nine-inch pie shells came in at $2.47 and
  • a 1-pound veggie tray was $.75.

A group of miscellaneous items including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal (butter, evaporated milk, onions, eggs, sugar, and flour) was also up slightly, to $3.01.

Items with no change in price:

  • a half-pint of whipping cream at $2.08.

After adjusting for inflation, the cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is $19.37, the most affordable in more than a decade.

New this year, American Farm Bureau also checked prices on a 4-pound bone-in ham, 5 pounds of Russet potatoes and 1-pound of frozen green beans. “Adding these foods to the classic Thanksgiving menu increased the overall cost slightly, to $61.72 or about $6 per person,” the survey found.

Farm Bureau also surveyed the price of a traditional Thanksgiving meal available from popular food delivery services. This revealed that the convenience of food delivery does have a larger price tag. A 16-pound turkey was nearly 50% more expensive at nearly $2 per pound when purchased from a food delivery service. Nearly every individual item was more expensive compared to the Farm Bureau average and the total cost of the dinner was about 60% higher at about $8 per person.

Read the whole report here.