Thanksgiving dinner will be less expensive this year. You can thank turkeys (and cooling inflation)

Nov 15, 2023, 9:00 AM

turkey and thanksgiving dinner shown -- food safety is especially important around the holidays...

(Tetra images RF/Getty Images)

(Tetra images RF/Getty Images)

New York (CNN) — Going for seconds this Thanksgiving won’t be so painful – for your wallet.

A Thanksgiving meal of twelve classic items for 10 people will cost $61.17 on average – a 4.5% drop from last year’s record high average of $64.05, according to a new survey from the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) on Wednesday.

While this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is more affordable compared to last year, it is still up 25% from 2019, underscoring price increases since the pandemic.

Tuesday’s Consumer Price Index report showed prices for food rose by 0.3% in October from the previous month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Food prices were up 3.3% from the same month a year ago.

But you can thank turkeys for the lower meal cost this Thanksgiving. The dinner’s centerpiece and most expensive item – a 16-pound turkey – costs $27.35 on average, down 5.6% from last year. And the AFBF says prices of turkeys are expected to drop further.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) told CNN that with Thanksgiving now one week away, promotions for turkeys have reached their peak and that prices will be further reduced due to these discounts. The USDA says controlling the spread of avian bird flu also helped lower prices.

An annual report by Wells Fargo found the industry added 2% to 3% more birds into barns to boost the Thanksgiving supply. A drop in input costs also helped, like the cost of refrigerated trucks to move supply around the country, according to Michael Swanson, chief agriculture economist with Wells Fargo Agri-Food Institute.

“Traditionally, the turkey is the most expensive item on the Thanksgiving dinner table,” Veronica Nigh, senior economist at the AFBF, said in a statement. “Turkey prices have fallen thanks to a sharp reduction in cases of avian influenza, which have allowed production to increase in time for the holiday.”

Whipped cream, cranberries and pie crusts also saw drops from last year, with a half pint of whipping cream costing $1.73 on average, a 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries coming it at $2.10 and two frozen pie crusts retailing on average for $3.50.

Just a few items in the Thanksgiving meal rose in cost this year, including dinner rolls, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie mix, carrots and celery, the AFBF said.

“While shoppers will see a slight improvement in the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner, high inflation continues to hammer families across the country, including the nation’s farmers,” Zippy Duvall, president of the AFBF, said in a statement.

But Midwesterners will have access to the most affordable meal items, totaling $58.66 this year. The Northeast has the most expensive meal price at $64.38 for the 12-item basket.

The national average for the Thanksgiving meal was calculated by checking prices in all 50 states and Puerto Rico from November 1 to 6.

AFBF volunteer shoppers, who checked prices in person and online at grocery stores, looked for the best possible prices without promotions or deals. The bureau has conducted the annual survey using the same menu since 1986.

Related: Thanksgiving dinner safety and cooking tips

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Business + Economy

two skiers shown, ski industry in utah has a big economic impact...

Sam Herrera

LISTEN: How the ski industry in Utah impacts the state

Anyone in Utah knows how big the ski industry is, but do they know what it means for the state's economy?

7 hours ago

The rear fuselage section of a 777, boeing whistleblower alleges manufacturing issues...

Chris Isidore and Pete Muntean, CNN

Boeing defends its planes’ safety ahead of whistleblower hearing

The FAA is looking into allegations raised by whistleblower and Boeing engineer Sam Salehpour that Boeing took shortcuts when manufacturing certain jets.

8 hours ago

People working past retirement age...

Nicole Goodkind, CNN

More people are working well past retirement age. It’s not easy

Americans over 75 are the fastest-growing age group in the workforce, more than quadrupling in size since 1964.

16 hours ago

Signs promoting a "closing sale" are posted UWM Men's Shop in downtown Salt Lake City Monday. The b...

Carter Williams,

Salt Lake business to relocate to Murray after 119 years; building to be torn down

The business formerly kown as Utah Woolen Mills, is stated to move to Murray before the building is torn down later this year.

2 days ago

wall street and broad signs shown...

STAN CHOE AP Business Writer

Stock market today: Wall Street falls toward its worst week in months as oil jumps

The nation’s largest bank gave a forecast for a key source of income this year that fell below Wall Street’s estimate.

4 days ago

A man sits at an office computer - Companies are experimenting with a four day workweek...


4-day workweeks may be around the corner. A third of America’s companies are exploring them

Nearly one-third of large US companies are exploring new work schedule shifts such as a four-day workweek, according to a survey by KPMG.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Thanksgiving dinner will be less expensive this year. You can thank turkeys (and cooling inflation)