Enrichment Arts & Culture

Thanksgiving meals 20 percent more expensive than last year: report

“Farmers are working hard to meet growing demands for food – both here in the U.S. and globally – while facing rising prices for fuel, fertilizer and other inputs.”
Aerial shot of Thanksgiving dinner.

Story at a glance

  • Inflation, supply chain issues and global unrest all contribute to the rising costs of Thanksgiving dinner this year.

  • The cost of a dinner for 10 rose by more than $10 in 2022 compared with 2021.

  • Prices for nearly all Thanksgiving staple ingredients rose year over year, according to survey findings.

The average cost of a Thanksgiving meal for 10 people in 2022 is estimated to be around $64 dollars, according to a new report from the Farm Bureau, marking a 20 percent increase from the $53 total measured in 2021.

The organization’s 37th annual survey found the price of turkey alone costs 21 percent more this year than last, at $28.96 for a 16-pound bird.

However, the increase for this Thanksgiving staple can be attributed to more factors more than just general inflation. The U.S. inflation rate in October was 7.7 percent, down from 8.2 percent measured in September. 

“The higher retail turkey cost at the grocery store can also be attributed to a slightly smaller flock this year, increased feed costs and lighter processing weights,” said American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) chief economist Roger Cryan. 

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Although the supply of whole turkeys is expected to be sufficient to meet Thanksgiving demand, temporary, regional shortages may occur in some states where avian influenza was found earlier this year, he added. 

When it comes to the rising costs of the meal as a whole, supply chain disruptions and the war in Ukraine have boosted costs, along with inflation cutting consumers’ purchasing power. The price of food rose more than 13 percent last year, marking the largest jump in 43 years. 

Because costs can vary by region, data show the meal is the most affordable in the South this year, at $58.42, followed by the Northeast, and Midwest. However, the meal in the Western U.S. was the most expensive, estimated to cost $71.37. 

“Farmers are working hard to meet growing demands for food – both here in the U.S. and globally – while facing rising prices for fuel, fertilizer and other inputs,” Cryan noted. 

The Thanksgiving meal cost estimates include those for turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk.

Year over year, the average cost of cubed stuffing rose by 69 percent while the price of pie crusts and a half pint of whipping cream increased by 26 percent each. Only the price of fresh cranberries fell, by 14 percent.

In 1986, the first year the report was conducted, the average cost of a dinner for 10 was $28.74. 

“We should not take our food supply for granted,” said AFBF President Vincent “Zippy” Duvall. “Supporting sustainable productive agriculture in the U.S. and globally is imperative.” 

This year’s average is based on findings from 224 surveys which included pricing data from all 50 states and Puerto Rico.