Thanksgiving Price Inflation Gobbles Up Americans Budget

Americans will face higher costs celebrating Thanksgiving this year

Thanksgiving — a day where American families and friends will soon gather to feast on popular dishes from turkey to stuffing and all sorts of side dishes is just around the corner. But this year, Americans will be bracing to cough up a pretty hefty price tag for that Thanksgiving meal as a result of painfully sky-high inflation.

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), which tracks food prices reported in its annual Thanksgiving dinner survey that the average cost for a classic Thanksgiving feast for 10 this year will be $64.05. That’s up $10.74 or 20% from last year’s average it saw at $53.31. According to the AFBF, it is the highest Thanksgiving dinner average cost ever reported in the 37 years since conducting the yearly survey.

via Farm Bureau

Consumers have felt the pressure of inflation for months, with the cost of food, in general, has risen every month in 2022. According to the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI), food prices rose almost 11 percent over the 12 months ending in October. Groceries price index reported an increase of 12.4 percent more than the same time a year ago. 

The Farm Bureau’s “volunteer shoppers” calculated its overall Thanksgiving meal shopping list of 12 key items needed to prepare the big day feast. 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.

Out of the 12 items, a 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries was the only item that reported the price to be $2.57, a decrease of 14% compared to last year. Meanwhile, every item from the pumpkin pie mix, to 12 rolls and miscellaneous ingredients needed to prepare a Thanksgiving meal was up between 8% to 69%.

Turkey, the focal point of Thanksgiving dinner costs 21% more than in 2021, with the average price for a 16-pound bird costing roughly $28.96 or $1.81 per pound. Compared to last year, the average cost for turkeys is nearly $5 more expensive and $9.57 more than in 2020, the survey found.

“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,” Farm Bureau Chief Economist Roger Cryan said in its press release.

Cryan said whole turkeys available should be sufficient enough for consumers to buy this year despite there may be temporary, regional shortages in some states where avian influenza (Bird Flu) was detected earlier this year. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook report for October, turkey production will be lower than usual for the remainder of 2022 into early 2023 as a result of the deadly Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza outbreak that has destroyed poultry flocks and has hit turkey supplies especially hard.

“The higher retail turkey cost at the grocery store can also be attributed to a slightly smaller flock this year, increased feed costs, and lighter processing weights,” Cryan added. “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.”

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service data confirmed late last month that 249 commercial flocks have been affected across 25 states with 47.76 million birds infected in total. So far, according to the USDA report, more than 6 million turkeys have died due to the virus nationwide thus far — nearly 14% of the total U.S. turkey production.

via Farm Bureau

All other items besides turkey are less than $5 each. Adding to the traditional classic Thanksgiving menu, from ham, Russet potatoes, and frozen green beans, the Farm Bureau found the classic Thanksgiving menu increased the overall cost by $17.25, to $81.30.

Depending where one resides in America will likely have an impact on how much it will cost for their Thanksgiving feast. According to the Farm Bureau which analyzed the regional differences in the cost of the meal, it found that a feast for 10 is cheaper in the South, with the average reported $58.42 while the most expensive being in the West at $71.37. In states across the Northeast, the average meal costs will roughly average $64.02 while the Midwest reported at $64.26. The expanded Thanksgiving meal including the ham, green beans, and Russet potatoes dishes reported being the most affordable in the South at $74.90, followed by the Midwest at $81.53, while the average cost in the Northeast was $82.76 and the West at $88.55.

Another separate analysis breaking down cities found that major metro areas compared to mid-size or smaller cities will face much more costly Thanksgiving grocery bills. According to MoneyGeek, it found that cost for a full holiday feast in Boston, Massachusetts was double the cost than in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

via MoneyGeek

In Boston, the cost for a 10-pound fresh gobbler, side dishes, and refreshments, including beer and wine is reported to be as much as $170. Other big cities from New York and Washington, D.C., are also reported to be the top five most expensive metro areas for Thanksgiving dinners with the average cost in the Big Apple being $161 while the nation’s capital saw the cost of $153. Meanwhile, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, a full Thanksgiving meal for six will be a more reasonable $88. The data also reported that there are only a few handfuls of metro areas where the cost of a full Thanksgiving dinner will cost less than $100, with the majority of those cities being in Texas.

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Thanksgiving Price Inflation Gobbles Up Americans Budget