It appears that the average Thanksgiving meal cost will be a little less expensive compared to 2019. While the holiday will be unlike any other previous celebrations due to COVID-19, the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) still performed its annual cost survey. The 35th annual survey looks at all the traditional foods that make up the Thanksgiving Day meal. For 2020, the survey indicated a cost of $46.90 or less to feed 10 people. The cost breaks down to less than $5 per person.
“The average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is the lowest since 2010,” AFBF Chief Economist Dr. John Newton said in a news release. “Pricing whole turkeys as ‘loss leaders’ to entice shoppers and move product is a strategy we’re seeing retailers use that’s increasingly common the closer we get to the holiday.”
The Thanksgiving meal cost reflects a decline of a little more than $2 from 2019’s average of $48.91. AFBF looked at the cost for all of the traditional staples consumed on the holiday. Turkey, stuffing, rolls with butter, sweet potatoes, cranberries, peas, a veggie tray, coffee and milk, and pumpkin pie with whipped cream were all included in the survey. When adding ham, frozen green beans, and potatoes to the list the cost increases to $60.11. With the added menu items, the overall cost reflects a decline of four percent from the year prior.
Turkey prices demonstrated the most substantial drop from last year, at $19.39 for a 16-pound bird. Retail prices for turkeys are the lowest they have been in 10 years according to the survey. Whipping cream and sweet potatoes also demonstrated a modest decline in price. Cubed stuffing mix, dinner rolls, and pumpkin pie mix showed slight increases for 2020.
The first Thanksgiving meal cost survey from AFBF was conducted back in 1986. More than 230 surveys were completed this year with pricing information from all 50 states. Due to the pandemic, volunteer shoppers compared food prices online. The survey has consisted of the same menu items since it first began to accurately compare prices over the years.