The average cost of Thanksgiving dinner is expected to decrease by at least 4 percent this year, according to a survey recently published by the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), but some Frederick shoppers are scoffing at the bureau’s calculations.
For the last 35 years, the Farm Bureau has calculated the cost of Thanksgiving dinner and specific ingredients by collecting price data from across the country. This year, the survey indicates that the average cost of Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people will be $46.90, which equates to less than $5 per person. A key ingredient for many households, however — beer, wine or spirits — is left off the bureau’s spread.
“The average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is the lowest since 2010,” John Newton, AFBF chief economist, said in a statement. “Pricing whole turkeys as ‘loss leaders’ to entice shoppers and move product is a strategy we’re seeing retailers use that’s increasingly common the closer we get to the holiday.”
The Farm Bureau’s Thanksgiving feast for 10 people includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream and coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty for leftovers.
The cost was calculated using more than 230 surveys completed with pricing data from all 50 states, according to the Farm Bureau. Volunteer shoppers checked prices online using grocery store apps and websites and looked for the best possible prices without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals.
Still, the bureau’s final tally seemed way too low to two local Frederick County shoppers. Both Terry Conway and Emily Kenyon said there is no way they could feed 10 people for that amount of money.
“There’s just two of us this year and I’ll probably spend that much,” Conway said Friday while shopping at the Weis on Thomas Johnson Drive.
She and her husband are keeping Thanksgiving simple this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We usually get together with family and this year we canceled our trip ... normally when we have everyone at the table, we try to say what we’re thankful for ... but I don’t know. With just the two of us, I may just say thanks for being my husband,” Conway said with a laugh.
One thing she won’t have to worry about buying this year is the turkey, as she is being gifted one.
According to the Farm Bureau, a 16-pound bird will cost about 17 percent less than last year, with an average price of $19.39.
Kenyon and her family are also keeping it small this year and probably won’t buy a whole turkey, she said. The family of four is leaning toward buying a cut of turkey breast along with some prepared side dishes from a grocery store.
Kenyon said she still plans to have some traditional family dishes on the table, though, including southern-style sausages, dressing baked in a cookie sheet and stuffing that’s not cooked in the turkey.
Many Americans are changing and scaling down Thanksgiving plans this year after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning against traveling and gathering with those outside your immediate household.
Due to the small size of many Thanksgiving celebrations next year, it seems turkeys are still in ample stock across the country, according to the Farm Bureau.