The national average cost of a Thanksgiving dinner for a family of 10 this year has dropped slightly year over year, from $50.11 to $49.87. In 2006 the same dinner cost $38.10, for an increase of just over 30% in nominal dollars. In the 10-year period to 2015, U.S. real median household income has done no better than remain flat at around $56,600.
According to the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), a 16-pound turkey will cost about $1.42 a pound this year, for a total cost of $22.74, which is 30 cents less than it cost last year. Dinner rolls (per dozen) cost 21 cents more this year, and two pie shells cost 12 cents more.
Among menu items that have dropped in price are milk (down eight cents per gallon), pumpkin pie mix (a 30-ounce can costs seven cents less) and a one-pound relish tray of carrots and celery costs six cents less than it did in 2015.
AFBF executive John Newton said:
Consumers will pay less than $5 per person for a classic Thanksgiving dinner this year. We have seen farm prices for many foods — including turkeys — fall from the higher levels of recent years. This translates into lower retail prices for a number of items as we prepare for Thanksgiving and confirms that U.S. consumers benefit from an abundant, high-quality and affordable food supply.
The AFBF survey involved 148 volunteer shoppers who checked prices at grocery stores in 40 states. The survey is informal, and the bureau makes no claim to scientific precision. The group also noted that a ready-to-eat Thanksgiving dinner can be purchased for $50 to $75 from many supermarkets and restaurants.
Earlier this week, we noted a report that 85% of Americans will celebrate the 2016 Thanksgiving holiday with a turkey dinner and that 45 million turkeys will be consumed. Americans will spend about $1.05 billion for their Thanksgiving main course.