Cheaper turkey prices have brought down the overall cost of Thanksgiving dinner in 2023, according to a survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 15 (UPI) -- Thanksgiving dinner in 2023 is expected to cost 4.5% less than last year, but the holiday feast remains 25% higher than its average price five years ago, according to an annual survey released Wednesday by the American Farm Bureau Federation.
With the holiday a little more than a week away, the survey finds the average cost of feeding 10 people on Thanksgiving Day this year will cost about $61.17, or less than $6.20 per person.
By comparison, Americans forked over 4.5% more for Thanksgiving dinner in 2022 -- when a 10-person holiday banquet ran $64.05, or $6.50 per person, the survey said.
More notably, the cost of Thanksgiving dinner in 2022 was 20% higher than the cost of the meal in 2021, when a family of 10 paid an average of $53.31 for the classic feast.
In 2019, the average cost of Thanksgiving dinner was around $45.88.
This year's analysis comes a day after the U.S. Consumer Price Index showed inflation had slipped to 3.2% since last October after gas and energy prices recently dipped, while core inflation also fell to its lowest level since September 2021.
The annual Thanksgiving dinner report attributes the higher overall cost of the meal to growing prices in the supply chain, driven by surging inflation -- factors that have contributed to increased food prices during and after the global pandemic.
Lower turkey prices have played a big role in bringing down the overall cost of Thanksgiving dinner this year, the survey found.
The average price for a 16-pound turkey, a centerpiece on most Thanksgiving tables, is $27.35 this year, translating to $1.71 per pound, and marking a 5.6% decrease from 2022.
Farm Bureau, which serves as a voice for farmers and agriculture in rural America, conducted the study in early November by sending "volunteer shoppers" into grocery stores to price check Thanksgiving Day fare for six days before chains marked the items down or offered promotional coupons to boost sales.
The organization also conducted 245 surveys with pricing data from all 50 states and Puerto Rico to reach the results.
During the second week of November, the average per-pound price for whole frozen turkeys decreased further, according to data from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. As a result, consumers who haven't picked up a turkey yet may find additional savings in the remaining days before the holiday, the report said.
"Traditionally, the turkey is the most expensive item on the Thanksgiving dinner table," said Veronica Nigh, a senior economist at Farm Bureau. "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."
Farm Bureau also listed average prices for holiday groceries, including: cranberries, $2.10 for 12 oz.; 3 pounds of sweet potatoes, $3.97; carrots and celery, a half pound for 90 cents; green peas, $1.88 for 16 oz.; 2 pie shells, $3.50; stuffing, $3.77 for 14 oz.; a dozen dinner rolls, $3.84; pumpkin pie, $4.44; 1-gallon whole milk, $3.74; and 1 half pint of whipping cream, $1.73.
The survey included an expanded menu -- with items including boneless ham, Russet potatoes and frozen green beans -- that increased the overall cost of the classic meal by $23.58 to $84.75.
The analysis also revealed Thanksgiving for 10 would be the most affordable this year in the Midwest at $58.66 and $81.83 for the respective meals; followed by the South at $59.10 and $82.61. The Northeast was the most expensive at $64.38 and $88.43.
Meanwhile, across the country, farmers grappling with higher expenses for fuel, seed, fertilizer and equipment have been calling on Congress to pass a farm bill that would provide a stronger financial safety net to support the nation's agriculture industry amid increasing climate disasters.