Jeni Foto | BIGSTOCK

Nov 18, 2022

Rising costs on this year's Thanksgiving menu

A recent Farm Bureau survey shows the cost of turkey per pound is up 21% compared to a year ago.

The most important aspect of Thanksgiving is spending time with family and friends. But this year, it's going to be a bit more expensive.

The American Farm Bureau Federation's (AFBF) 37th annual survey provides a snapshot of the average cost of this year’s classic Thanksgiving feast for 10, which is $64.05 or less than $6.50 per person. This is a $10.74 or 20% increase from last year’s average of $53.31.

It's not just turkey that costs more

According to Feed & Grain's parent company Watt Global Media, which conducts market analysis of the poultry industry, there are a couple reasons Thanksgiving turkey prices will be higher this year: Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) impacted turkey and egg production, while inflation has affected wages, salaries and energy costs related to producing and distributing poultry.

Last September, the price of a boneless, skinless turkey breast was $3.16/pound. The same time this year, that turkey breast costs $6.70.

Overall, most of the Thanksgiving staples you’re used to will be a bit more expensive this year.

2022 Thanksgiving average cost for 10 02
Graphic: American Farm Bureau Federation

It's more than inflation

According to AFBF's survey, the centerpiece on most Thanksgiving tables – the turkey – costs more than last year, at $28.96 for a 16-pound bird. That’s $1.81/pound, up 21% from last year, due to several factors beyond general inflation.

Farm Bureau “volunteer shoppers” checked prices October 18-31, before most grocery store chains began featuring whole frozen turkeys at sharply lower prices.

According to USDA Agricultural Marketing Service data, the average per-pound feature price for whole frozen turkeys was $1.11 the week of November 3-9 and 95 cents the week of November 10-16, a decline of 14% in just one week; and the share of stores offering feature prices rose from 29% to 60%.

This means consumers who have not yet purchased a turkey should be able to find one at a lower cost than the Farm Bureau average.

2022 Thanksgiving items percent comparison 02 1
Graphic: American Farm Bureau Federation

“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.

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.

“Other contributing factors to the increased cost for the meal include supply chain disruptions and the war in Ukraine,” Cryan said. “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 said the supply of whole turkeys available to consumers should be adequate this year. There may be temporary, regional shortages in some states where avian influenza is continuing to impact commercial meat turkey flocks.

WATTPoultry.com notes that to date, Pennsylvania has had 25 commercial poultry flocks affected by HPAI, leading to the loss of more than 4.3 million birds. It ranks third nationally in terms of flocks affected and birds lost. Only Iowa and Nebraska have had more bird losses, while only Minnesota and South Dakota have had more flock losses.

To learn more about HPAI cases in commercial poultry flocks in the United States and Canada, see an interactive map on WATTPoultry.com.

2022 Thanksgiving chart for news release 01
Graphic: American Farm Bureau Federation

What's on the menu?

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, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty for leftovers.

In recognition of changes in Thanksgiving dinner traditions, the Farm Bureau price survey also includes ham, Russet potatoes and frozen green beans, in an expanded holiday menu. Adding these foods to the classic Thanksgiving menu increased the overall cost by $17.25, to $81.30. This updated basket of foods also increased in price (up 18%) compared to 2021.

This year’s national average cost was calculated using 224 surveys completed with pricing data from all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers checked prices in person and online using grocery store apps and websites. They looked for the best possible prices without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals.

See last year's Thanksgiving prices here.

Related reading

VIDEO: Expect record retail turkey prices for Thanksgiving 2022

Survey shows Thanksgiving dinner cost up 14%

Track 2022 avian influenza outbreaks in North American poultry

Individual prices

  • 16-pound turkey: $28.96 or $1.81 per pound (up 21%)
  • 14-ounce bag of cubed stuffing mix: $3.88 (up 69%)
  • 2 frozen pie crusts: $3.68 (up 26%)
  • Half pint of whipping cream: $2.24 (up 26%)
  • 1 pound of frozen peas: $1.90 (up 23%)
  • 1 dozen dinner rolls: $3.73 (up 22%)
  • Miscellaneous ingredients to prepare the meal: $4.13 (up 20%)
  • 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix: $4.28 (up 18%)
  • 1 gallon of whole milk: $3.84 (up 16%)
  • 3 pounds of sweet potatoes: $3.96 (up 11%)
  • 1-pound veggie tray (carrots & celery): 88 cents (up 8%)
  • 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries: $2.57 (down 14%)



Lisa Cleaver

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