Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

November 24, 2021
Study shows Thanksgiving dinner may cost more

Last minute turkey buyers may save on cost 

The typical Thanksgiving dinner will cost more thai year than last year, but how much more may depend on when people went shopping, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The Farm Bureau’s 36th annual survey indicates the average cost of this year’s classic Thanksgiving feast for 10 is $53.31 or less than $6.00 per person. This is a $6.41 or 14% increase from last year’s average of $46.90.

The big thing on most Thanksgiving tables – the turkey – costs more than last year, at $23.99 for a 16-pound bird, according to the Farm Bureau survey.

That’s roughly $1.50 per pound, up 24% from last year.

However, there may be some variation in costs from the survey’s results.

Farm Bureau “volunteer shoppers” checked prices Oct. 26 to Nov. 8, about two weeks before most grocery store chains began featuring whole frozen turkeys at sharply lower prices, according to the Farm Bureau.

Although the Farm Bureau survey timeline is consistent with past Farm Bureau Thanksgiving surveys, 2021 brought some unique differences. 

The Farm Bureau said, according to USDA Agricultural Marketing Service data, grocery stores began advertising lower feature prices later than usual this year. 

Also, the average per-pound feature price for whole frozen turkeys was $1.07 the week of Nov. 5-11 and 88 cents the week of Nov. 12-18, a decline of 18% in just one week. 

This week food stores in Tooele County have been advertising turkeys for less than the Farm Bureau’s survey price of $1.50 pound. Some offer a reduced price or a free turkey with a stated total spending amount.

A free turkey would take almost $24 out of the Farm Bureau’s holiday dinner price, making the total dinner cost $29.31 or $2.93 per person.

“Several factors contributed to the increase in average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner,” said Farm Bureau senior economist Veronica Nigh. “These include dramatic disruptions to the U.S. economy and supply chains over the last 20 months; inflationary pressure throughout the economy; difficulty in predicting demand during the COVID-19 pandemic and high global demand for food, particularly meat,” she explained. 

Further, “The trend of consumers cooking and eating at home more often due to the pandemic led to increased supermarket demand and higher retail food prices in 2020 and 2021, compared to pre-pandemic prices in 2019,” Nigh said.

The shopping list for the Farm Bureau’s informal survey included turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10, with plenty for leftovers.

This year’s national average cost was calculated using 218 surveys completed with pricing data from all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers checked prices in person and online using grocery store apps and websites. They looked for the best possible prices without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals.

The Farm Bureau Thanksgiving dinner survey was first conducted in 1986. The informal survey provides a record of comparative holiday meal costs over the years. Farm Bureau’s classic survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.

 

Tim Gillie

Editor at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Tim has been writing for the Transcript Bulletin since October 2017. In February 2019 he was named as editor. In addition to being editor, Tim continues to write about Tooele County government, education, business, real estate, housing, politics and the state Legislature.A native of Washington state and a graduate of Central Washington University, Tim became a journalist after a 20 year career with the Boy Scouts of America.

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