Farm Bureau survey: Thanksgiving dinner cost rises only a penny
Published 11:16 am Thursday, November 21, 2019
The American Farm Bureau Federation’s 34th annual survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table showed the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $48.91, or less than $5 per person. This is a 1-cent increase from last year’s average of $48.90.
The Federation released its annual report Thursday.
“The average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is essentially unchanged from last year, after three years of decline since 2015,” AFBF Chief Economist Dr. John Newton said. “Americans continue to enjoy the most affordable food supply in the world, but most don’t realize only 8 cents of every dollar consumers spend on food goes to farmers.”
In a new Farm Bureau survey, most Americans were surprised to learn the farmers’ share of the food dollar is so small.
Also, in that same survey, nearly 90 percent of Americans have faith in those who grow their food.
“The Thanksgiving price survey opens the door to a deeper dialogue about how food is produced and how prices remain so stable despite volatility in the farm economy this year and severe weather hampering planting and harvest,” Newton said.
The centerpiece on most Thanksgiving tables – the turkey – costs slightly less than last year, at $20.80 for a 16-pound bird. That’s roughly $1.30 per pound, down 4 percent from last year. The survey results show that retail turkey prices are the lowest since 2010.
The shopping list for Farm Bureau’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.
Although the overall average cost of the meal was about the same this year, there were some price changes for individual items.
In addition to turkey, foods that showed slight price declines include cubed bread stuffing and canned pumpkin pie mix. Foods showing modest increases this year included dinner rolls, sweet potatoes and milk.
Despite the growing popularity of prepared foods, the vast majority of Americans, 92 percent, celebrate Thanksgiving at home or at a family member’s home and most cook their entire meal at home, according to the survey.
To complete the survey, the Federation used more than 250 volunteer shoppers who checked prices at grocery stores in 38 states. Shoppers were asked to look for the best possible prices, without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals.
The AFBF Thanksgiving dinner survey was first conducted in 1986. The informal survey provides a record of comparative holiday meal costs over the years. Farm Bureau’s classic survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.