Here's How Much More Thanksgiving Will Cost This Year

For the first time ever, the average price of an estimated Thanksgiving dinner for ten people surged past the $60 mark.

Thanksgiving dinner spread

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The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) has released its annual analysis of Thanksgiving dinner costs dating all the way back to 1986. But in a year when reports have suggested inflation is the highest it’s been since 1981, the 2022 report, which came out this week, feels more relevant than ever.

After remaining relatively steady for about a decade, and even taking a slight dip in 2020, last year, the price of a Thanksgiving dinner for ten people rose to a record high, topping the previous 2015 peak by about $3. But with inflation continuing to rear its ugly head throughout 2022, the cost took an even more dramatic spike this year, jumping 20%, the largest year-over-year increase since the Farm Bureau’s survey began.

The total cost — which compiles the price of a 16-pound turkey, stuffing mix, frozen pie crusts, whipping cream, frozen peas, dinner rolls, pumpkin pie mix, milk, sweet potatoes, a veggie tray, fresh cranberries, and other miscellaneous ingredients across 224 surveys nationwide — reached $64.05, a record annual jump in dollars of $10.74.

"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," AFBF chief economist Roger Cryan stated. "General inflation has been running 7% to 9% in recent months, while the most recent Consumer Price Index report for food consumed at home reveals a 12% increase over the past year."

The biggest ticket item in the meal, the turkey, was also one of the biggest contributors of the price increase. The Farm Bureau pegged the average price of a 16-pound turkey at $28.96. or $1.81 per pound, which was up 21% since last year. (Per the AFBF rules, their price checkers seek “the best possible prices without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals.”) Cryan stated that this turkey price bump can "be attributed to a slightly smaller flock this year, increased feed costs, and lighter processing weights."

Despite these issues, however, the Farm Bureau billed the overall supply of turkeys as "adequate" enough to prevent any nationwide or permanent regional shortages. The group also pointed out that their prices were calculated between October 18 to 31, "before most grocery store chains began featuring whole frozen turkeys at sharply lower prices." As of the week ending November 16, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service data now said the average per-pound feature price for whole frozen turkeys had dropped to just 95 cents.

Looking beyond the bird, every single item on the Farm Bureau’s shopping list was up between 8% and 26% with one glaring exception: a 14-ounce bag of cubed stuffing mix was up a whopping 69%.

"Other contributing factors to the increased cost for the meal include supply chain disruptions and the war in Ukraine," Cryan continued. "Farmers are working hard to meet growing demands for food — both here in the U.S. and globally — while facing rising prices for fuel, fertilizer and other inputs."

Finally, the Farm Bureau added a reminder that pricing can differ significantly depending on the region. While the Northeast and Midwest had average prices similar to the national one — $64.02 and $64.26, respectively — a meal out in the West was $71.37 while the same food in the South was a mere $58.42.

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