The average cost to feed an extended family of 10 is 44 cents lower than a year earlier and remains less than $5 per serving with plenty of leftovers.
The 2013 Thanksgiving dinner cost according to the American Farm Bureau Federation is $49.04, lower than 2012 and 2011, but $5.57 higher than the 2010 average cost.
The average was calculated by the Farm Bureau for the 28th consecutive year. This year’s survey of 167 Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers across 34 states doesn’t account for coupons, sales or other purchase deals which could make the meal even more affordable.
The entire shopping list includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and beverages of coffee and milk. The most expensive grocery item is the 16-pound turkey, all of the remaining items were less than $4 each.
The price of the turkey showed the largest change, falling 47 cents compared to 2012. The price of sweet potatoes increased by the largest amount, up 21 cents compared to the previous year. Whole milk was also more expensive this year as the average price for a gallon increased 7 cents to $3.66.
“This year we can be thankful that Thanksgiving Dinner, a special meal many of us look forward to all year, will not take a bigger bite out of our wallets,” said John Anderson, AFBF’s deputy chief economist. “Most Americans will pay about the same as last year at the grocery store for a turkey and all the trimmings. Slightly higher turkey production for much of the year coupled with an increase in birds in cold storage may be responsible for the moderate price decrease our shoppers reported,” he said.
Anderson added food prices have remained relatively stable over the past few years, especially when inflation is considered.
Ordering a ready-to-eat meal for the big holiday moves the total cost higher. The Farm Bureau estimates the same meal prepared by a supermarket or take-out restaurant will cost between $50 and $75. According to the National Restaurant Association there will be roughly 16 million people picking up some take-out items for the holiday meal.
Don’t feel like hosting Thanksgiving dinner? The National Restaurant Association reports more 14 million Americans will eat their Thanksgiving meal at a restaurant. The NRA listed more time with family and avoiding stress as reasons for the take-out and restaurant options.
Using organic ingredients is likely to cost you considerably more. A 2011 report comparing a non-organic Thanksgiving dinner with an organic version for eight people found the organic option was $126.35 more expensive.