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Gobble Up the Turkey. Thanksgiving Dinner Price Drops Again.
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Published 5 years ago on
November 16, 2018

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Good news is here for the upcoming holiday. The price of a typical Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people has dropped to 2010 levels.

The American Farm Bureau Federation’s 33rd annual survey of classic items on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table found that this year’s cost is $48.90 — a slice of 22 cents from 2017.

And, according to CNBC, if you shop at Walmart, you can shave the price to $45.18.

“Thanks to an ample supply, turkey remains affordable for consumers, which helps keep the overall cost of the dinner reasonably priced as well.” — AFBF economist John Newton

“Since 2015, the average cost of Thanksgiving dinner has declined steadily and is now at the lowest level since 2010,” said John Newton, the AFBF’s chief economist.

Of course, a turkey is always the star of the Thanksgiving feast. This year, the average cost of a 16-pounder is $21.71 — down from $22.38 in 2017.

“Thanks to an ample supply, turkey remains affordable for consumers, which helps keep the overall cost of the dinner reasonably priced as well,” Newton said.

Graphic showing Thanksgiving dinner prices through the years
(American Farm Bureau Federation Graphic)

The shopping list for the federation’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.

Foods showing the largest decreases this year in addition to turkey were: a gallon of milk ($2.92), a 3-pound bag of sweet potatoes ($3.39), a 1-pound bag of green peas ($1.47), and a dozen rolls ($2.25).

Adding Ham or Using Home Delivery Drives Up Cost

The American Farm Bureau Federation also checked prices on a 4-pound bone-in ham, 5 pounds of Russet potatoes and 1-pound of frozen green beans.

“Adding these foods to the classic Thanksgiving menu increased the overall cost slightly, to $61.72, or about $6 a person,” Newton said.

Additionally, the federation surveyed the price of a traditional Thanksgiving meal available from popular food delivery services. Nearly every item was more expensive, and the total cost of the dinner was about $8 per person.

Where you shop makes a big difference, too. CNBC’s Megan Leonhardt went to Whole Foods in the New York City area. The tab? $99.85.

How the Survey Was Done

The federation conducted its survey with 166 volunteer shoppers at grocery stores in 37 states. They were charged with finding the best prices without using coupons or promotional deals.

The survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons, the farm group said.

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