Thanksgiving dinner will cost consumers less this year, but the price tag for all the traditional holiday fixings will still be 25% higher than in 2019, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.
The farm group said the average cost of this year’s holiday feast for 10 is $61.17, a 4.5% decrease from last year’s record-high average of $64.05. Despite the improvement, 2023’s total remains among the highest on record since the survey was first conducted in 1986.
“While shoppers will see a slight improvement in the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner, high inflation continues to hammer families across the country, including the nation’s farmers,” Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said in a statement.
Much of the drop in meal costs this year stems from a sharp decline in the price of turkey, typically the most expensive part of the Thanksgiving meal. The average price for a 16-pound turkey is $27.35, or $1.71 per pound, down 5.6% from 2022.
The shopping list for Farm Bureau’s informal survey includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries and pumpkin pie with whipped cream, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty of leftovers.
The farm group said classic staples such as whipping cream (down 22.8%), cranberries (a drop of 18.3%) and cubed stuffing (falling 2.8%) will cost less this year. Consumers will need to pay more for items such as pumpkin pie mix (up 3.7%) and dinner rolls (an increase of 2.9%).
U.S. consumers have been hit by rising costs for everything from electricity and shelter to clothing and transportation services. Food has not been immune.
At-home food prices have been flat or up between 0.1% and 0.3% each of the last six months, according to recent CPI data from the U.S. government, as companies pass on higher costs for ingredients, labor and shipping to shoppers. During the last year, food-at-home costs have climbed 2.1%. The increase, coupled with a jump in other expenses, has prompted many consumers to cut back on food spending or to shift to less expensive private label items.
There could be a reprieve for consumers in the coming year.
Rabobank said in its 2024 outlook this week that “fulsome” relief could be on the way in the new year due to falling prices of popular commodities such as corn, cocoa, sugar, soybeans and coffee after growers boosted output amid high prices.
The main beneficiaries of a downward trend in agri-commodities, the bank found, should be baking, dairy and animal protein producers, who can expect lower prices for grain-and-oilseed-heavy ingredients.