Thanksgiving dinner will be about 4.5% cheaper this year compared to 2022, but prices for the classic holiday meal still remain historically high, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 38th annual survey.
Americans can expect to spend an average of $61.17 on a feast for 10 people – about $6.12 per person – this holiday season, which is $2.88 cheaper than last year’s record-high average of $64.05. Though the decrease is encouraging, the average Thanksgiving meal is still about 25% more expensive than it was in 2019.
The biggest role player in this year’s decrease is the centerpiece of the meal – the turkey. A 16-pound turkey currently costs $27.35 on average, down approximately 5.6% from 2022.
“Traditionally, the turkey is the most expensive item on the Thanksgiving dinner table,” said AFBF Senior Economist Veronica Nigh. “Turkey prices have fallen thanks to a sharp reduction in cases of avian influenza, which have allowed production to increase in time for the holiday.”
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Whole frozen turkeys may become even more affordable leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday as the survey was conducted from Nov. 1 through Nov. 6 and USDA Agricultural Marketing Service data has reported lower costs since then.
After the turkey, the remaining sides included stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, and pumpkin pie with whipped cream. All categories were priced to feed a group of 10 with a little extra for leftovers.
The average cost to make the above dishes came out as follows:
- 14-ounces of cubed stuffing mix: $3.77 (down 2.8%)
- 2 frozen pie crusts: $3.50 (down 4.9%)
- Half pint of whipping cream: $1.73 (down 22.8%)
- 1 pound of frozen peas: $1.88 (down 1.1%)
- 1 dozen dinner rolls: $3.84 (up 2.9%)
- Misc. ingredients to prepare the meal: $3.95 (down 4.4%)
- 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix: $4.44 (up 3.7%)
- 1 gallon of whole milk: $3.74 (down 2.6%)
- 3 pounds of sweet potatoes: $3.97 (up .3%)
- 1-pound veggie tray (carrots & celery): $.90 (up 2.3%)
- 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries: $2.10 (down 18.3%)
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The survey also considered that many traditional Thanksgiving meals are changing and included boneless ham, Russet potatoes and frozen green beans in an expanded menu. With the three additional dishes, the overall average cost increased to $84.75.
Regional differences were also acknowledged with both versions of the Thanksgiving menu being the most affordable in the Midwest at $58.66 and $81.83, respectively. The Northeast had the most expensive averages at $64.38 for the classic menu and $88.43 for the expanded version.
The 2023 survey was calculated using 245 surveys with pricing data from all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Volunteers shopped in person and online to find the best prices without using coupons or other promotional deals, the AFBF said.
The Farm Bureau’s Thanksgiving dinner survey was first conducted in 1986 and the menu has remained the same to keep price comparisons consistent.