By Illinois Farm Bureau
With concerns resurfacing over possible food shortages, a study from a national farm group found the supply chain is as resilient as ever – and it’s showing up in the form of lower prices for many traditional Thanksgiving dinner ingredients.
This year, the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual Thanksgiving dinner survey calculated the average cost of a traditional Thanksgiving meal for 10 people at $46.90. That’s less than $5 per person and down 4 percent from last year.
“The average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is the lowest since 2010,” said AFBF Chief Economist John Newton, Ph.D. “Turkeys – and other staples of the traditional Thanksgiving meal – are currently in ample supply at grocery stores in most areas of the country.”
The national survey’s menu includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk, in generous amounts accounting for leftovers. Volunteer shoppers across the country tracked the prices of these items in stores near them and online.
The average price for a 16-pound turkey is $19.39, down 7 percent from last year, according to survey results. Prices also dropped for sweet potatoes and whipping cream, while the cost of other staples, like dinner rolls, cubed bread stuffing and pumpkin pie mix, rose moderately.
The falling total cost comes as a surprise for some, given the effect COVID-19 had on grocery bills earlier this year.
“There was an expectation that the prices would have gone up, as we saw last spring,” said Illinois Farm Bureau Associate Director of Food Systems Development Raghela Scavuzzo. “I’m glad to see the price decreases, especially for those who are struggling this holiday season due to the impacts of the pandemic.”
Some consumers responded to the pandemic by cooking more at home and stockpiling the ingredients. But farmers and the food industry adapted. Despite the ongoing shifts in supply and demand seen by the agriculture industry over the past several years, farmers have continued to provide a healthy food supply.
“Even in the throes of a pandemic, life goes on; farms continue to produce and we continue to eat,” said IFB Consumer Engagement Manager Gracie Weinzierl. “While the supply chain surely does not look the same as it did a year ago, we’ve figured out how to adapt and make sure that consumers have steady access to food.”
“The great news is that we know upholding our Thanksgiving traditions will be affordable this season, regardless of whether we choose to prepare our favorite family recipes for a small gathering at home, partake in a dinner drop with friends and family to enjoy in their separate homes, or order takeout or delivery from a local restaurant.”