Looking for a holiday bargain? According to American Farm Bureau Federation’s 32nd annual price survey of classic Thanksgiving dinner, you don’t have to wait until Black Friday to find a deal. The industry association’s latest report indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $49.12, a 75-cent decrease from last year’s average of $49.87.
The shopping list for Farm Bureau’s informal survey includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, coffee and milk — all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty for leftovers.
The centerpiece (a 16-pound turkey) came in at $22.38 this year. Per the report, that’s roughly $1.40 per pound, a decrease of 2 cents per pound, or a total of 36 cents per whole turkey, compared to 2016.
Foods showing the largest decreases this year in addition to turkey, were a gallon of milk; a dozen rolls; two nine-inch pie shell; a 3-pound bag of sweet potatoes; a 1-pound bag of green peas; and a group of miscellaneous items including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal (butter, evaporated milk, onions, eggs, sugar, and flour).
Conversely, items that increased modestly in price included a half-pint of whipping cream; a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing; a 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix; a 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries; and a one-pound veggie tray.
The stable average price reported this year by Farm Bureau for a classic Thanksgiving dinner tracks with the government’s Consumer Price Index for food eaten at home. But while the most recent CPI report for food at home shows a 0.5% increase over the past year, the Farm Bureau survey shows a 1.5% decline. After adjusting for inflation, the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner continues a downward trend.
A total of 141 volunteer shoppers checked prices at grocery stores in 39 states for this year’s survey. Farm Bureau 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.