Average Thanksgiving Dinner Cost 20 Percent More Than Last Year

Average Thanksgiving Dinner Cost 20 Percent More Than Last Year

By Corinne Murdock |

A Thanksgiving dinner for 10 may cost about 20 percent more than it did last year — a difference of nearly $11. It is the most expensive that a Thanksgiving meal has been in at least 36 years. 

The annual American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) survey released on Wednesday revealed that classic Thanksgiving foods for a gathering of 10 would amount to $64.05. Last year, that same meal cost $53.31. 

The survey reviewed costs for a 16-pound turkey, 12 ounces of cranberries, three pounds of sweet potatoes, one-half pound each of carrots and celery, 16 ounces of green peas, two pie shells, 14 ounces of cube stuffing, 30 ounces of pumpkin pie mix, one gallon of milk, and one-half pint of whipping cream. 

Last year, a 16-pound turkey cost nearly $24 on average ($1.49 per pound). This year, that same turkey cost nearly $29 on average ($1.81 per pound). That $5 increase is the most significant of all the classic Thanksgiving foods, though the remainder of the other 10 groceries averaged an increase of 60 cents. 

Nothing declined in price; the grocery item with the least cost increase was the one-pound vegetable tray, at six cents. 

Thanksgiving meal prices declined from 2015 to 2020 before increasing last year. This past year’s increase is the steepest yet in the 36 years since the AFBF began its survey.

The USDA issued a memo on Wednesday as well with different estimates. They claimed that their administration undertook actions to slow inflation at grocery stores, some of which have been purportedly palpable. 

The USDA used a turkey hen instead of a tom for its comparison, and estimated that a large turkey hen would only cost two cents more per pound than last year.

Their estimates for costs of other staples were lower as well. 12 ounces of cranberries were $2.24, three pounds of sweet potatoes were $2.58, and a gallon of milk was $3.73. The USDA excluded pie ingredients, stuffing, and whipping cream from its estimates. 

The USDA blamed the avian influenza outbreak, Russia’s war on Ukraine, and the drought for the increasing costs of food. Despite the loss of over 8 million turkeys, the administration projected that there wouldn’t be a turkey shortage come Thanksgiving. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

Higher Halloween Candy Prices Were Nothing Compared To Cost For Thanksgiving Dinner

Higher Halloween Candy Prices Were Nothing Compared To Cost For Thanksgiving Dinner

By Terri Jo Neff |

Anyone who bought Halloween candy likely noticed the higher prices and fewer sales. Yet it appears to be just a prelude of things to come heading into Thanksgiving.

Avian flu outbreaks across the country have led to the slaughter of more than 7 million turkeys, resulting in a shortage that has prompted souring supply and demand pricing (up 70 percent per pound from last year) that has been further worsened by inflation.

Turkeys are not the only Thanksgiving staple subject to significantly higher prices this year.

Baking pumpkins are also much more expensive, up 24 percent from last year’s holiday season. And anyone who buys butter or margarine—a must-have for those potatoes and rolls—knows the shortage of sunflower oil (due to the war in Ukraine) and canola oil (due to droughts in Canada) have seen prices creep up all summer along with milk costs.

Add all of that to the recent inflation report which shows most other foods have gone up 15 to 20 percent, and it equals a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner that is going to be costly this year.

Meanwhile, grocery stores and restaurants which typically sell take-home Thanksgiving dinner packages are advising customers to order early, as quantities are limited.

And those trying to escape the higher grocery prices—and cooking time—by dining out won’t see much relief, according to the National Restaurant Association. Restaurants are seeing the same price squeezes, which when added to higher labor costs will translate to higher prices on the menu.

The higher prices for Thanksgiving staples is also expected to squeeze nonprofits across Arizona who count on food donations to provide thousands of free meals to the homeless and low-income families.