The American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) 34th annual survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $48.91, or less than $5.00 per person. This is a 1-cent increase from last year’s average of $48.90.
More than 250 volunteer shoppers checked prices at grocery stores in 38 states for this year’s survey. AFBF volunteer shoppers are asked to look for the best possible prices, without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals.
The centerpiece on most Thanksgiving tables—the turkey—costs slightly less than last year, at $20.80 for a 16-lb bird. That’s roughly $1.30/lb, down 4% from last year. The survey results show that retail turkey prices are the lowest since 2010.
The shopping list for AFBF’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.
Although the overall average cost of the meal was about the same this year, there were some price changes for individual items. In addition to turkey, foods that showed slight price declines include cubed bread stuffing and canned pumpkin pie mix. Foods showing modest increases this year included dinner rolls, sweet potatoes, and milk.
The opinion poll revealed that 90% of Americans celebrate the holiday with a special meal and turkey remains a staple for 95% of consumers, while half serve both turkey and ham at their Thanksgiving meal. In recognition of changes in Thanksgiving dinner traditions, the AFBF price survey includes ham, potatoes, and frozen green beans. Adding these foods to the classic Thanksgiving menu increased the overall cost slightly, to $62.32—or just over $6 per person.
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