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Cost of 2021 Thanksgiving Meal Higher Than Last Year, Survey Shows

News / Newsline November 18, 2021

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The cost of a Thanksgiving Day meal is higher than last year. Chad Smith has more behind the rising price of the holiday feast.

Smith: A holiday meal with family and friends is a highlight for families across the country. But this year, that meal might be a little more expensive, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. AFBF senior economist Veronica Nigh says shoppers should expect to pay a little over $50 this year.

Nigh: This year, the average price that our shoppers found when they went to the grocery stores all across the United States was $53.31. That is a feast for 10, with plenty of room for leftovers. It includes Thanksgiving staples like turkey, pumpkin pie, whipping cream, dinner rolls, cranberries, green beans, whole milk, frozen peas, a veggie tray consisting of carrots and celery, and miscellaneous ingredients to enjoy the meal.

Smith: Despite the 14 percent increase from the 2020 average of $46.90, Nigh says the price-per-person is still low.

Nigh: This is less than $6 per person, despite the fact that we saw a 14% increase in 2021 relative to 2020. That’s obviously a sizeable increase, and I think its important to break that down just a little bit. The overall Thanksgiving market basket, about 45% of the cost is related to the cost of turkey. So when we take the turkey out, the average increase in the cost of all the other ingredients was about 6.6% relative to 2020.

Smith: Nigh points out that Farm Bureau shoppers checked prices between October 26 and November 8. That’s about two weeks before most grocery store chains began their turkey markdowns for Thanksgiving. However, that isn’t the only factor impacting the higher cost this year.

Nigh: Overall inflation in the U.S. economy, at over 6.2%, is certainly adding to the cost of all products in the U.S. economy, not just food products. We’ve seen unprecedented changes in consumer behavior, in supply chains, in all facets of U.S. life. So one of those elements is that once the pandemic began we saw a significant shift in more consumers eating a larger share of their food at home, versus away from home. That has an impact on food prices.

Smith: More information is available at Chad Smith, Washington.

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General session keynote speakers slated for the 2022 American Farm Bureau Convention are sure to inspire and entertain attendees. Inspirational speaker Jim “Murph” Murphy, founder and chairman of Afterburner, will speak during the afternoon general session at the convention on Sunday, Jan. 9, in Atlanta, Georgia. Comedian Jeff Allen will perform on Monday, Jan. 10, during the convention’s closing general session.

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It’s not just the turkey that will cost more this Thanksgiving. Thanks to inflation and supply chain interruptions, nearly every ingredient in your holiday meal is more expensive, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation's annual Thanksgiving dinner cost survey.

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