While spending time with family and friends at Thanksgiving remains important for many Americans, the cost of that indulgence has never been higher, up a stunning 20% from last year to $64.05 for the classic feast.
The cost for the classic meal was the most affordable in the South – $58.42, followed by the Northeast – $64.02, Midwest – $64.26 and West – $71.37.
“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,” said AFBF Chief Economist Roger Cryan.
“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,” said Cryan.
Over the past two years, the grocery bill for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner has risen by 36.6%. All these changes are illustrated in the following chart from PoliticalCalculations blog:
In the chart, we’ve ranked the cost of the individual items and groupings used by the Farm Bureau for their traditional turkey dinner menu from high to low according to their 2021 cost as you read from left to right. We’ve also tallied the cumulative cost of the meal, with the totals for each shown on the far right side of the chart.
Ranking the data this way lets us see that the increase in the cost of turkey is once again responsible for most of the year-over-year increase in the cost of the meal. Here we see the cost of a 16-pound bird rose by 20.7% to $28.96 in 2022. This single item alone accounts for over 46% of the year-over-year increase in the total cost for the meal. Since 2020, the cost of turkey has increased by $9.57, making up 56% of the realized increase in Thanksgiving dinner ingredient costs over that time.
Meanwhile, only the price of cranberries fell compared to last year, dropping by 13.8%. Every other Thanksgiving dinner items increased in cost during 2022.
Among those items, a 1-pound veggie tray of carrots and celery registered the smallest year-over-year price increase of 7.3%. Every other item’s cost was up significantly, recording double-digit year-over-year price increases ranging from a low of 11.2% for sweet potatoes to a high of 69.4% for a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing.
During the last ten years, the cost of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner held steady within a relatively narrow range between $46.90 (2020) and $50.11 (2015). Thanks to the cumulative effect of President Biden’s inflation, celebrating Thanksgiving with a traditional turkey dinner has never been more costly for Americans.
A USDA memo this month said turkey prices will be higher because of this year’s outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), which led to the death of 8 million turkeys in 2022. But USDA also said “Russia’s war on Ukraine and drought across the United States” are other factors that are “pushing up the price of Thanksgiving staples.”
USDA told Fox News Digital that both the COVID pandemic and “Putin’s Price Hike” have boosted food prices around the world, and said Russia’s move against Ukraine cut off a “critical supply” of wheat, corn, barley and other grain. Russia’s war in Ukraine plus the pandemic have putt “pressure on food prices,” USDA said.
As a reminder, a year ago, the St.Louis Fed offered this little beauty of a tweet, suggesting Americans switch from Turkey to Tofurkey to save some cash…
As of the third quarter of 2021, a hearty Thanksgiving dinner serving of turkey costs $1.42.
A tofurkey (soybean) dinner serving with the same amount of calories costs $0.66 and provides almost twice as much protein.
Keep in mind that this plant-based meal would be almost 3 times larger by weight than the poultry-based meal and may either keep you at the dinner table longer or provide you with more leftovers.
Remind us again who was responsible for soaring poultry and soybean prices back then?
Spot the turkey…