Cost of traditional Thanksgiving meal this year fell to less than $5 per person, Farm Bureau says

Donnelle Eller
Des Moines Register

Getting a gobbler and all the fixings on your table this year cost less per guest than buying a fancy spiced pumpkin latte, data from the American Farm Bureau Federation show.

The average price tag for a typical Thanksgiving meal — including turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie — was down 4% from last year, according to the Farm Bureau, which has tracked costs annually for 35 years.

The grocery bill to make a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 averaged $46.90, or less than $5 a person, the farm group said. That’s $2.01 less than last year’s average of $48.91, based on a pricing survey conducted in all 50 states. And, per person, it’s about a $1 less than a large Starbucks spiced pumpkin latte.

The biggest factor in the decreased cost for this year’s holiday meal was the price of turkey, which was about $1.20 a pound, the lowest figure since 2010, the Farm Bureau said.

Iowa-based grocery chains Hy-Vee and Fareway said they expected to have plenty of turkeys available, including smaller birds to fit downsized family get-togethers, as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The health agency recently urged Americans to stay home for the holiday and avoid extended family to prevent spreading COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Not only did Iowa, the nation’s seventh-largest turkey producer, help feed Americans on the holiday, it sent the turkeys that received the annual White House presidential pardon. Turkey producers Ron and Susie Kardel of Walcott raised this year’s “presidential flock,” two of which traveled to Washington, D.C., for the ceremony before living out their life back at Iowa State University’s farm.

The Iowa Farm Bureau’s Sam Funk said Iowa and U.S. farmers continue to provide healthy food, despite a year of hardship.

“Something to be thankful for is all the people who, from gate to plate, have worked endlessly to bring food and necessities for our families,” said Funk, the bureau’s director of agriculture analytics and research.

The cost of the Thanksgiving meal this year was down 4% from 2019, the American Farm Bureau Federation reports.