Survey: The cost of a Thanksgiving meal fell more than 4% this year


Des Moines, IA-  Iowans heading to the grocery store to stock up for Thanksgiving will be pleased to hear they may actually be paying less to feed the family this year.

Christopher Pudenz, an economist for the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation tells Radio Iowa, they figured the average cost to prepare a traditional Turkey Dinner for a family of ten at the table.

“This year’s expected costs for the Thanksgiving meal, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation survey, is $61.17,” Pudenz says. “Now this is a four-and-a-half percent decrease in the overall price from 2022, which was just a nickel over $64.”

The survey found that the biggest fluctuations in price were 12-ounce bags of cranberries and half pints of whipping cream, which dropped 13% and 23% respectively.  Meanwhile, a 12-pack of dinner rolls and pumpkin pie filling saw modest increases in price of between 3% and 4%.

“We saw decreases in seven of the 11 food items in terms of price, but the majority of that decrease from 2022 to 2023 had to do with declining turkey prices,” Pudenz says. “Turkey makes up between 40 and 45% of that cost in any given year.”

Other items on the survey include frozen pie crusts, whole milk, frozen peas, sweet potatoes and stuffing.

Overall food prices have risen about 25% since the start of 2020.  Pudenz says that inflation has continued to take a significant toll.  Pudenz says that bird flu was a key factor in price changes.

“Turkey prices were particularly elevated last year due to a very long, severe, highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak in 2022,” Pudenz says. “It was absolutely devastating to our turkey farmers out there in 2022, and in 2023, the flocks recovered.”

While there have been more outbreaks this fall, Pudenz says they haven’t been nearly as severe.