Thanksgiving week is here, so let’s talk turkey, and the price of Thursday’s meal. Nationally the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people this year is just under $50, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual survey. Hoosiers will pay even less than that and significantly less than a year ago. The national survey is made up of individual state surveys, and Indiana Farm Bureau’s annual Thanksgiving market basket survey is now at the lowest level since 2010.
AFBF economist Dr. John Newton says the decline confirms the quality of the U.S. food supply.
“I think this year’s survey results reveal what we’ve all known about food prices here in America and that is that U.S. consumers have access to an abundant high-quality and low-cost food supply. We spend about 10 percent of our income on food and this year’s survey confirms that. It comes in at less than $50 for the Thanksgiving dinner, and that’s less than $5 per person.”
Newton says lower milk and turkey prices led to the decrease in this year’s survey.
“We’ve seen milk prices come down quite a bit from where they were in 2014. Turkey supply has adjusted from 2015 levels, and those two factors have contributed to a lower price for this basket of goods.”
The increase in turkey supply means there are plenty of turkeys to go around this Thanksgiving Day.
“In 2016 there are plenty of turkeys available,” Newton explains. “U.S. producers have responded from the bird flu outbreak of 2015 and USDA estimates that the turkey supply is up about 8 percent from where we were last year.”
The AFBF meal for 10 is $49.87, and the average Hoosier price is $46.81. This is $3.52 lower than last year’s total – $4.24 lower than the all-time high price, which was recorded in 2012 – and represents a decrease of around 7 percent. The menu includes a 16-pound turkey, the ingredients for stuffing and pumpkin pie, and other components of a traditional holiday feast.
Nearly all of the 12 items on the holiday shopping list declined in cost. The turkey dropped by 16 cents per pound or $2.36 for a 16-pound turkey.
“As a consumer, I’m happy to see lower prices,” said Isabella Chism, Indiana Farm Bureau second vice president, who farms with her family in Howard County. “As a farmer, I’m honored to help produce the food for family Thanksgiving celebrations.”
INFB’s survey is part of a national survey coordinated by the American Farm Bureau. A total of 148 volunteer shoppers (including 16 from Indiana) in 40 states participated. The 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 both coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 and leave plenty for leftovers.
Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers are asked to look for the best possible prices, without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals.
In the Indiana survey milk was down 50 cents per gallon to $2.19, and whipping cream (½ pint) went down 7 cents to $1.88.
The only item that increased significantly in price on the Indiana survey was a 16-ounce bag of frozen peas, which rose by 57 cents to $1.64.
The American Farm Bureau has been coordinating this survey since 1986, and INFB has been participating since at least 1993.
“When you look at inflation, it (the cost of the meal) is cheaper today than it was when we first started doing this survey in 1986,” Newton added.