Nov 16, 2022 - Economy

Thanksgiving meal prices rise to new record high

Illustration of a hundred dollar bill with a platter of turkey in the middle

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Your Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings is expected to cost 20% more than last year.

Why it matters: Nearly every ingredient in the classic Thanksgiving feast is more expensive between inflation, supply chain interruptions and the avian flu, according to the American Farm Bureau's annual Thanksgiving dinner survey.

Driving the news: The survey, released Wednesday, found the average cost of this year’s holiday meal for 10 is $64.05 up from the 2021 average of $53.31.

  • It's the most expensive dinner in the 37 years of the bureau's holiday survey.

What they're saying: "General inflation slashing the purchasing power of consumers is a significant factor contributing to the increase in average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner," said Roger Cryan, the bureau's chief economist, in a statement.

Thanksgiving prices up for turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie

The shopping list from the Farm Bureau's informal survey includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray and ingredients for a pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

Details: A 16-pound turkey costs about $28.96, almost $5 or 21% more than the average cost a year ago and $9.57 more than in 2020, the survey found.

Holiday staples with the biggest price increases include:

  • 14-ounce bag of cubed stuffing mix, $3.88 (up 69%)
  • Two frozen pie crusts, $3.68 (up 26%)
  • Half pint of whipping cream, $2.24 (up 26%)
  • A pound of frozen peas, $1.90 (up 23%)
  • A dozen dinner rolls, $3.73 (up 22%)
  • 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix, $4.28 (up 18%)

Yes, but: Only one item — a 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries — had a price drop with the bag costing $2.57, down 14% from last year.

Zoom out: Turkey prices have dropped since the Farm Bureau’s “volunteer shoppers” checked prices Oct. 18-31, which was before most grocery store chains began featuring whole frozen turkeys at sharply lower prices.

  • Meal costs also vary by region with prices lower in the south and highest in the west.

Most expensive Thanksgiving meals

Separately, personal finance website MoneyGeek did a survey of Thanksgiving prices for 122 metro areas and found the most expensive meals will be in Boston, Honolulu, New York City, Seattle and Washington D.C.

  • Whole turkeys in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria metro area will cost $44, over double the national average price, MoneyGeek found.
  • The Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, Arkansas has the most expensive store-bought pumpkin pies with two costing $22.59, the survey found.

Turkey shortage 2022

Threat level: The U.S. government has warned of a possible shortage of big turkeys.

  • U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said in a call with reporters in early November that finding 20-pound turkeys in some regions could be challenging because of bird flu.

State of play: Kyle Lock, marketing vice president at Butterball, told Axios Charlotte that while the flu has affected the turkey industry as a whole, the company's "supply of turkeys this Thanksgiving is going to be robust."

More from Axios:

Go deeper