PHOENIX – The average price of a Thanksgiving feast for 10 people is $53.31, up $6.41 from last year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual price survey. The higher prices are pretty much across the board: turkey, cranberries, frozen dinner rolls and pie crusts.
But the price hike isn’t as steep in Arizona, where turkey and trimmings this year will cost $2.50 more than last year, according to the Arizona Farm Bureau.
Veronica Nigh, the Farm Bureau Federation’s senior economist, said in a statement that factors contributing to the rise “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.”
The Farm Bureau has surveyed the cost of a Thanksgiving meal for 36 years. This year’s national increase – which reflects prices from Oct. 26 to Nov. 8 – puts the price of a Thanksgiving feast for 10 almost $20 more than it was in 2003. Prices had fallen from 2015 through 2020, before ticking up in 2021 In Arizona, the cost of turkey and trimmings for 10 people has almost doubled since 1993, up to $49.62 from $24.99, according to the Arizona bureau.
“We are talking about $6 a person,” George Frisvold, professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Arizona, said of the national cost. “Go to a fast food place and see what they are walking out with.”
Turkey saw the largest price hike among food items surveyed this year – with the national average rising by 24%, to $23.99, for a 16-pound bird. Arizonans experienced a 32% increase, to $19.40 in 2021 from $14.08 the year before.
“You may be seeing a higher price in certain food groups in your local grocery store,” Stefanie Smallhouse, Arizona Farm Bureau president, said in a statement, “but the costs to produce those items has increased exponentially, including fuel and transportation costs. And because of the complexities of our food system, the average farmer is not generally getting more money for their product.
“Even with the increase in food costs, Arizonans will still be spending a smaller portion of their family budget on food than anywhere else in the world.”
The price of one traditional item fell nationwide: a 14-ounce box of stuffing dropped by 19%, to $2.29. Arizona, however, saw additional price drops for several items including: sweet potatoes, dinner rolls, frozen green peas, milk, cranberries and whipping cream.
“Overall, the prices have jumped,” said Becky Andrews, who was shopping Wednesday near downtown Phoenix. “I think it’s going to hit a lot of families that don’t have the income for normal shopping. They are going to have trouble, and are going to have to let things go. And that concerns me – for families that won’t have food everyday, let alone the holidays.”
Despite the price jump, Arizonans can take heart knowing their meal will cost less than the national average.
“Americans are kind of spoiled,” said Frisvold at UArizona, “because we actually spend way less, as a share of our income on food, than anywhere else. And that is something to be thankful for.”