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The cost this holiday is $20.80 for a 16-pound bird – or roughly $1.30 per pound – a 4 percent decrease from last year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual survey of foods traditionally served during Thanksgiving dinner. The results show turkey prices are at the lowest since 2010 when the same size bird cost $17.66.
More than 250 volunteer shoppers checked prices at grocery stores in 38 states for Thanksgiving food staples like turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, bread rolls, butter, peas, cranberries and pumpkin pie. Economists at the Farm Bureau calculated the costs of a feast that would feed a family of 10, with leftovers. This year’s meal totals $48.91, less than $5 per person – that’s a 1 cent increase from last year’s $48.90.
“The average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is essentially unchanged from last year, after three years of decline since 2015,” AFBF chief economist John Newton said in a statement.
While the average cost of Thanksgiving dinner was almost unchanged this year, individual items did see a slight decline in price, including bread stuffing and canned pumpkin pie mix. Dinner rolls, sweet potatoes and milk saw modest increases, the survey found.
“Americans continue to enjoy the most affordable food supply in the world, but most don’t realize only 8 cents of every dollar consumers spend on food goes to farmers,” Newton said.
And despite the rise of vegan and plant-based diets, turkey remains a staple for 95 percent of consumers, while half serve both turkey and ham at their Thanksgiving meal, according to the survey.
When the Farm Bureau added foods like ham, potatoes and frozen green beans into the mix, the price of dinner for 10 went up to $62.32, or just over $6 per person.
And while the prepared foods category has seen growing popularity with meal kits and food delivery, the vast majority of Americans (92 percent) will celebrate Thanksgiving at home or at a family member's home and most cook the entire meal, according to the survey.