published : 2023-11-15

The Cost of Thanksgiving: A Historical High with a Ray of Hope

Turkey prices are projected to decrease as Thanksgiving holiday nears

A picturesque scene of a Thanksgiving dinner table beautifully decorated with autumn colors and a delicious spread of food, taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

The cost of Thanksgiving, though lower than last year, will still be historically high, adding another pain point for consumers.

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 38th annual survey, the average cost of the classic holiday feast for 10 people this year is estimated at $61.17. That's down 4.5% from last year's record-high average of $64.05.

Still, compared with pre-pandemic times, the cost of the turkey feast is about 25% higher, underscoring the true impact that supply costs and inflation have had on food prices in recent years.

An image of a farmer hand-picking fresh, ripe vegetables in a bustling farm, highlighting the importance of supply costs in food production, taken with a Nikon D850.

A big reason the overall price decreased this year is due to lower turkey costs. This year, a 16-pound turkey is about $27.35, roughly 5.6% lower per pound in price, according to the data.

To gather the data on turkey prices, the Farm Bureau sent out shoppers to check prices at grocery store chains during the first week of November. That was before most chains 'began featuring whole frozen turkeys at sharply lower prices,' according to the bureau.

Data from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service showed how prices for whole frozen turkeys declined even further later in the month. This also means that there may be additional savings in the days leading up to Thanksgiving.

A heartwarming photo capturing a family happily gathered around the Thanksgiving table, enjoying a mouthwatering feast, emphasizing the joy and significance of the holiday, taken with a Sony Alpha a7 III.

"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.'

Even with prices easing a bit, high inflation is still persisting and 'continues to hammer families across the country, including the nation’s farmers,' said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. He added that 'growing the food families rely on is a constant challenge for farmers because of high fuel, seed, fertilizer and transportation costs, just to name a few.'