A turkey day feast for 10 during the coronavirus pandemic will cost an average of $46.90, or less than $5.00 per person, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation's annual survey released Thursday. That’s a $2.01 decrease from last year’s average of $48.91.
“The average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is the lowest since 2010,” American Farm Bureau’s chief economist Dr. John Newton said in a statement. “Pricing whole turkeys as ‘loss leaders’ to entice shoppers and move product is a strategy we’re seeing retailers use that’s increasingly common the closer we get to the holiday."
The big holiday bird will cost an average of $19.39 for a 16-pound turkey, roughly $1.21 per pound and a 7% decrease from last year, the data shows. Economists also factored in traditional sides including stuffing, sweet potatoes, peas, cranberries, pumpkin pie with whipped cream and coffee with leftovers to spare into the average cost of Thanksgiving dinner. Whipping cream and sweet potatoes showed subtle price declines.
When tacking on other holiday fixings like ham, potatoes and frozen green beans to the menu, the cost of Thanksgiving dinner increased by $13.21 to $60.11, still down 4% compared to 2019, economists found.
While the coronavirus pandemic led to a shortage of beef and frozen food products earlier this year as Americans stocked up in bulk at local supermarkets and online, Newton assures there is currently an ample supply of Thanksgiving foods.
“Turkeys – and other staples of the traditional Thanksgiving meal – are currently in ample supply at grocery stores in most areas of the country,” the economist said.
While the average cost for a traditional turkey day feast is cheaper, American consumers are estimated to spend more on the holiday dinner this year, despite social distancing mandates and rising coronavirus cases across the country.
A separate report from LendingTree, which surveyed 2,042 Americans, found that consumers will spend a whopping $475 hosting Thanksgiving this year, up 53% from 2019. Analysts attributed the hike in spending to compensate for other missed holidays and occasions not celebrated earlier this year because of the pandemic.
What’s more, 41% of Americans plan to host guests on Thanksgiving this year, up from 33% in 2019. However, the average amount of guests expected to be in attendance this year is 9, down from 10 last year, per LendingTree.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests Americans avoid travel this year and have Thanksgiving dinner outside; the CDC's most recent guidance on holiday gatherings suggests that the safest way to celebrate is with members of one's household.