Cost Cuts Make This Year’s Thanksgiving Feast a Bargain

Cost Cuts Make This Year’s Thanksgiving Feast a Bargain

2018 Farm Bureau Thanksgiving dinner cost graphic

For the third year in a row, the average cost of a classic Thanksgiving meal for 10 has dropped.

When it comes to this year’s Thanksgiving meal, don’t feel bad about asking for a second helping. Findings from the American Farm Bureau Federation indicate the cost of a classic Thanksgiving meal in 2018 comes with a side of savings. According to the organization’s 33rd annual survey, the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $48.90, or less than $5.00 per person. This is a 22-cent decrease from last year’s average of $49.12. After adjusting for inflation, the cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is $19.37, the most affordable in more than a decade.

The main dish (turkey) cost slightly less than last year, coming in at $21.71 for a 16-pound bird, down 3% percent. According to the survey results, retail turkey prices are the lowest since 2014. In addition to the bird, the shopping list for the informal survey includes stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk.


Survey shoppers found foods with 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). Several items saw slight price increases this year including cranberries, pumpkin pie mix, and stuffing.

A total of 166 volunteer shoppers checked prices at grocery stores in 37 states for this year’s survey. Farm Bureau reports volunteer shoppers are asked to look for the best possible prices without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals, such as spending $50 and receiving a free turkey.

New this year, Farm Bureau also checked prices on a 4-pound bone-in ham, 5 pounds of ‘Russet’ potatoes, and 1-pound of frozen green beans. In addition, the survey also checked the price of a traditional Thanksgiving meal available from popular food delivery services. Not surprising, a 16-pound turkey was nearly 50% more expensive at nearly $2 per pound when purchased from a food delivery service. Nearly every individual item was more expensive compared to the Farm Bureau average and the total cost of the dinner was about 60% higher at about $8 per person.