After the price of the Farm Bureau’s 10-person feast rose above $50 for the first time in 2015, it’s dropped back down for the second consecutive year.

Mike Pomranz
November 16, 2017

We’re a week away from Thanksgiving, which means it’s time for your favorite Thanksgiving tradition: The annual American Farm Bureau Federation’s Thanksgiving dinner price survey. (And here you thought we were talking about defrosting the turkey!)

As you may recall from last year, shoppers were greeted with good news as the price of the Farm Bureau’s meal – which “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” – had dipped back below $50, a drop from the cost of the same meal in 2015. Well, there’s more good news for 2017: The cost of the meal has dropped even further this year down to $49.12 – 75 cents cheaper than 2016 and the meal’s lowest cost in five years.

“For the second consecutive year, the overall cost of Thanksgiving dinner has declined,” AFBF Director of Market Intelligence Dr. John Newton said on the Farm Bureau’s website. “The cost of the dinner is the lowest since 2013 and second-lowest since 2011. 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.”

So what’s driving down costs? Well, first, the biggest ticket item, the turkey, is down 2 cents from last year, a savings of 36 cents total for the 16-pound bird. That decrease is the result of excess frozen turkey inventory, suggested Newton. Milk, rolls, pie shells, sweet potatoes, green peas and a group of other “miscellaneous items” were cheaper this year, as well. “Milk production has increased, resulting in continued low retail prices,” Newton explained. “In addition, grocers often use milk as a loss leader to entice consumers to shop at their stores.”

However, when looking to cash in on the Farm Bureau’s findings, it’s important to keep its methodology in mind: The prices are sourced by volunteer shoppers who “are asked to look for the best possible prices, without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals.” So no splurging! Unless having plenty of disposable income is what you’re thankful for this year.