Thanksgiving meals in Illinois 13% more expensive than last year, survey finds

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Information provided by the Illinois Farm Bureau

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – (November 22, 2022) – Gathering with family and friends for a Thanksgiving meal remains an important tradition in many households, but high food costs due to general inflation is a top concern for many this holiday season.

Illinois shoppers participating in the 37th annual American Farm Bureau Federation’s Thanksgiving Cost Survey reported a state-wide average price of $65.53, or $6.55 per person for a classic Thanksgiving meal for 10. This represents a 13% increase over the previous year’s state average of $58.15.

“Illinois farmers know the role inflation has played over the last year in driving food costs higher. Farmers have been experiencing higher input prices for over 18 months,” said Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert, Jr. “Increased fuel prices are a significant component of the distribution of food to consumers.”

The cost of Thanksgiving in Illinois

Illinois’ Thanksgiving costs reflect prices slightly higher than the national average. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the national cost of a classic Thanksgiving feast for 10 came in at $64.05, or less than $6.50 per person. This reflects a $10.74 or 20% increase from last year’s average of $53.31.

Turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberries — 2021 vs. 2022

Turkey, a staple main dish in many Thanksgiving meals, increased in its national average cost 21% to $28.96 over the last year. In total, 11 food items increased in average price and one (cranberries) decreased. The largest price increase is for cubed bread stuffing, up 69% to $3.88 for 14 ounces.

The shopping list for Farm Bureau’s informal survey includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, dinner rolls, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie filling, two frozen pie shells, whipped cream and whole milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty of leftovers.

In recognition of changes in Thanksgiving dinner traditions, the Farm Bureau price survey also includes ham, russet potatoes and frozen green beans, in an expanded holiday menu. Adding these foods to the classic Thanksgiving menu increased the overall cost by $17.25, to $81.30. This updated basket of foods also increased in price (up 18%) compared to 2021.

The above chart shows the results of an American Farm Bureau study into the cost of Thanksgiving this year vs. last year. (Graphic provided)

This year’s national average cost was calculated using 224 surveys completed with pricing data from all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers checked prices in person and online using grocery store apps and websites. They looked for the best possible prices without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals.

Other factors

The results reflect several factors beyond general inflation. Shoppers across the country visited grocery stores in late October to check prices for Thanksgiving staples before most grocery store chains began featuring whole frozen turkeys at sharply lower prices.

According to USDA Agricultural Marketing Service data, the average per-pound feature price for whole frozen turkeys was $1.11 the week of November 3–9 and 95 cents the week of November 10–16, a decline of 14% in just one week; and the share of stores offering feature prices rose from 29% to 60%.

“Other contributing factors to the increased cost for the meal include supply chain disruptions and the war in Ukraine,” Cryan said. “The higher retail turkey cost at the grocery store can also be attributed to a slightly smaller flock this year, increased feed costs, and lighter processing weights.”

More info about Thanksgiving cotsts

More information and data on the average cost of Thanksgiving dinner can be accessed at the American Farm Bureau’s website.

The AFBF Thanksgiving dinner survey was first conducted in 1986. The informal survey provides a record of comparative holiday meal costs over the years. Farm Bureau’s classic survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.

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