Thanksgiving dinner ‘still affordable,’ Illinois Farm Bureau says

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The American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) 36th annual survey indicates the average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving feast for 10 has risen to $53.31, or less than $6 a person. (Getty Images)

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (NEXSTAR) – As families return to traditional Thanksgiving gatherings this year, they can expect to spend around 14% more at the grocery store than they did in 2020, according to the American Farm Bureau. The AFBF surveyed shoppers across the U.S. to identify the average price of traditional Thanksgiving meal items such as turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce.

The AFBF’s 36th annual survey found the average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving feast for 10 has risen to $53.31, a $6.41 increase from last year’s average of $46.90. In Illinois, that total is even higher, coming in at $58.15 for 2021.

“Consumers can still rest assured that there are bargains to be found in their local grocery stores,” Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert Jr. said. “The food supply is strong, steady and plentiful as Illinois farmers work tirelessly year-round to produce affordable products.”

According to the AFB, lingering effects of the pandemic were the major contributing factors to the overall increase.

“These include dramatic disruptions to the U.S. economy and supply chains over the last 20 months; inflationary pressure throughout the economy; difficulty in predicting demand during the COVID-19 pandemic and high global demand for food, particularly meat,” AFBF Senior Economist Veronica Nigh said. “The trend of consumers cooking and eating at home more often due to the pandemic led to increased supermarket demand and higher retail food prices in 2020 and 2021, compared to pre-pandemic prices in 2019.”

Survey shoppers visited grocery stores across the country in late October to early November in their hunt for Thanksgiving staples. Notably, survey shopping took place in the weeks prior to when many grocery stores began featuring whole frozen turkeys at sharply lower prices.

The IFB said shoppers may be able to beat the Illinois average in the week leading up to Thanksgiving by capitalizing on in-store deals and coupons.

According to the USDA, shoppers heading to the market over the next few days can expect to pay the following prices for their Thanksgiving staples:

  • Frozen Turkey Hen (12 lbs.) – $0.88 cents per pound
  • Sweet Potatoes – $0.83 cents per pound
  • Russet Potatoes – $0.90 cents per pound
  • Cranberries – $2.22 per 12 oz. bag
  • Green beans – $1.64 per pound
  • Milk (1 gallon) – $3.75 per gallon

“We know that even small price increases can make a difference for family budgets, and we are taking every step we can to mitigate that,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “The good news is that the top turkey producers in the country are confident that everyone who wants a bird for their Thanksgiving dinner will be able to get one, and a large one will only cost $1 dollar more than last year.”

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