Unexpectedly Intriguing!
22 November 2022

The American Farm Bureau Federation reports the cost of providing a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner for 10 people in 2022 is 20% higher than a year ago. The identical grocery items that cost $53.31 a year ago now cost $64.05 according to the Farm Bureau's shopping survey, which is released each year just one week ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. That new food inflation comes on top of the year-over-year 14% increase recorded last year. Over the past two years, the grocery bill for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner has risen by 36.6%.

All these changes are illustrated in the following chart, in which we've visualized the costs of all the items on the Farm Bureau's annual Thanksgiving shopping list from 2020 through 2022.

Cost of a Traditional Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner, 2020 vs 2021 vs 2022

In the chart, we've ranked the cost of the individual items and groupings used by the Farm Bureau for their traditional turkey dinner menu from high to low according to their 2021 cost as you read from left to right. We've also tallied the cumulative cost of the meal, with the totals for each shown on the far right side of the chart.

Ranking the data this way lets us see that the increase in the cost of turkey is once again responsible for most of the year-over-year increase in the cost of the meal. Here we see the cost of a 16-pound bird rose by 20.7% to $28.96 in 2022. This single item alone accounts for over 46% of the year-over-year increase in the total cost for the meal. Since 2020, the cost of turkey has increased by $9.57, making up 56% of the realized increase in Thanksgiving dinner ingredient costs over that time.

Meanwhile, only the price of cranberries fell compared to last year, dropping by 13.8%. Every other Thanksgiving dinner items increased in cost during 2022.

Among those items, a 1-pound veggie tray of carrots and celery registered the smallest year-over-year price increase of 7.3%. Every other item's cost was up significantly, recording double-digit year-over-year price increases ranging from a low of 11.2% for sweet potatoes to a high of 69.4% for a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing.

During the last ten years, the cost of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner held steady within a relatively narrow range between $46.90 (2020) and $50.11 (2015). Thanks to the cumulative effect of President Biden's inflation, celebrating Thanksgiving with a traditional turkey dinner has never been more costly for Americans.

Thanksgiving 2022

If you missed it, last Friday kicked off Political Calculations' annual celebration of Thanksgiving, the most American of holidays! We'll continue focusing on turkeys and the holiday through the rest of the week!

References

American Farm Bureau Federation. Farm Bureau: Survey Shows Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Up 14%. [Online Article]. 17 November 2022.

American Farm Bureau Federation. Farm Bureau: Survey Shows Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Up 14%. [Online Article]. 18 November 2021.

American Farm Bureau Federation. Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Survey: 2022 Year to Year Prices. [PDF Document]. 17 November 2022.

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