In a year when inflation has driven up prices of nearly all consumer goods, the price of a Thanksgiving meal also is trending upward.
According to an informal survey conducted by the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, the average cost to prepare a traditional Thanksgiving meal for 10 adults is $73.91, or $7.39 per person.
The survey’s menu consists of turkey, ham, stuffing, sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, rolls, carrots, celery, cranberries, green beans, peas, milk, and pumpkin pie with whipped cream.
A meal without ham, russet potatoes and green beans costs $57.63, or $5.76 per person.
This year’s statewide average increased by $10.25—16.1%—from the 2021 average of $63.66 for a 10-person meal. Prices reported by volunteer shoppers around the state do not reflect discounts from promotional sales or coupons, and survey data were collected before most major sales took place.
The survey data were relatively consistent with current Consumer Price Index trends, which reveal shoppers are seeing a 12.4% increase in the cost for food-at-home purchases versus this time last year.
“Virginia’s farmers continue to work diligently throughout the year to put food on our tables, which is no small feat considering the challenges they’ve faced over the last several years,” said Virginia Farm Bureau Commodity Specialist Elijah Griles.
“Most of us don’t think of farmers while we’re at the grocery store, but farmers also feel the effects of rising costs at home,” Griles said. “This year, much like every year, Virginia farmers really deserve our thanks for honoring their commitment to produce safe and reliable food for Virginia, the United States, and the rest of the world.”
This is the 19th year Virginia Farm Bureau has conducted the survey, which is based on an annual survey organized by American Farm Bureau Federation. Volunteer shoppers checked prices online and in person at 28 grocery stores throughout the state.
The Virginia Farm Bureau survey showed the average cost of a 16-pound turkey was $28.09 or $1.76 per pound. This represents a 12.1% increase in price versus the 2021 average of $1.57 per pound.
In all, Farm Bureau discovered the average price for a 4-pound bone-in ham was $10.24; a gallon of whole milk was $3.67; frozen peas, $1.60; frozen green beans, $1.67; three pounds of sweet potatoes, $3.12; a 5-pound bag of russet potatoes, $4.37; fresh celery, $1.81; fresh carrots, $1.06; two pie shells, $3.33; whipping cream, $2.26; canned pumpkin pie filling, $3.68; fresh cranberries, $2.28; stuffing mix, $3.13; and a dozen dinner rolls, $3.62.
All items increased in price versus 2021 values except for cranberries, which were found to be 2 cents cheaper this year.
The Virginia locality with the highest average cost for a traditional Thanksgiving meal was Henrico County at $90.51. The locality in Virginia with the lowest average cost was Carroll County at $55.79 for a 10-person meal.
Nationally, American Farm Bureau Federation’s survey found the average cost of a Thanksgiving meal for 10 was $64.05, a 20% increase from $53.31 in 2021. The basic American Farm Bureau Federation survey does not include ham, russet potatoes and green beans. With these items included in the AFBF findings, the national average cost for a traditional meal was $81.30, 10% higher than the cost in Virginia.
Roger Cryan, chief economist for AFBF, said, “General inflation slashing the purchasing power of consumers” contributed heavily to the increase in the cost of Thanksgiving dinners.
Turkey prices were up 21% nationally to $28.96 for a 16-pound bird, or $1.81 per pound, about 4% higher than prices recorded in Virginia. Overall, the item with the largest price increase was the 14-ounce bag of cubed stuffing mix, which rose from $2.29 in 2021 to $3.88 this year, a 69% jump.
The American Farm Bureau Federation also reported that volunteer shoppers checked prices Oct. 18-31, about two weeks before most grocery store chains began featuring whole frozen turkeys at sharply lower prices.