Monday, November 18, 2013

Cost of Thanksgiving Dinner Down for 2013


The American Farm Bureau Federation’s informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $49.04, a 44-cent price decrease from last year’s average of $49.48.


While slightly lower than last year, if your grandmother in Florida seems a little glum this Thanksgiving, it could be that the inflationary cost of that dinner still outpaced the annual after-tax return on her Certificate of Deposits by a factor of at least 2 to 1 since 2009 (3% annually for the dinner vs. around 1.5% for a 5-year CD).


The AFBF survey 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, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10.  There is also plenty for leftovers.


The big ticket item – a 16-pound turkey – came in at $21.76 this year. That was roughly $1.36 per pound, a decrease of about 3 cents per pound, or a total of 47 cents per whole turkey, compared to 2012. The whole bird was the biggest contributor to the final total, showing the largest price decrease compared to last year.


Yearly Averages
1986 $28.74
1987 $24.51
1988 $26.61
1989 $24.70
1990 $28.85
1991 $25.95
1992 $26.39
1993 $27.49
1994 $28.40
1995 $29.64
1996 $31.66
1997 $31.75
1998 $33.09
1999 $33.83
2000 $32.37
2001 $35.04
2002 $34.56
2003 $36.28
2004 $35.68
2005 $36.78
2006 $38.10
2007 $42.26
2008 $44.61
2009 $42.91
2010 $43.47
2011 $49.20
2012 $49.48
2013 $49.04

In addition to the turkey, other items that declined in price included a dozen brown-n-serve rolls, $2.18; one pound of green peas, $1.54; a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing, $2.67; fresh cranberries, $2.42; a half pint of whipping cream, $1.85; and two nine-inch pie shells, $2.49.


Items that showed a moderate price increase from last year included three pounds of sweet potatoes, $3.36; one gallon of whole milk, $3.66; and a 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix, $3.10.


In addition, a combined group of miscellaneous items, including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal (onions, eggs, sugar, flour, evaporated milk and butter) increased to $3.20. A one-pound relish tray of carrots and celery increased to 81 cents.



The AFBF survey was first conducted in 1986. While the Farm Bureau does not make any scientific claims about the data, it is an informal gauge of price trends around the nation. Farm Bureau’s survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.


Item 2012 Price 2013 Price Difference
16-pound turkey 22.23 21.76 -.47
Rolls, 12 2.33 2.18 -.15
Green peas, 1 lb. 1.66 1.54 -.12
Cubed stuffing, 14 oz. 2.77 2.67 -.10
Fresh cranberries, 12 oz. 2.45 2.42 -.03
Pie shells (2) 2.51 2.49 -.02
Sweet potatoes, 3 lbs. 3.15 3.36 +.21
Pumpkin pie mix, 30-oz. 3.02 3.10 +.08
Milk, 1 gallon whole 3.59 3.66 +.07
1-pound relish tray (carrots and celery) .76 .81 +.05
Whipping cream, ½ pint 1.83 1.85 +.02
Misc. ingredients 3.18 3.20 +.02
TOTAL 49.48 49.04 -.44

SOURCE and IMAGE CREDIT:  American Farm Bureau Federation