Thanksgiving Dinner Remains Affordable

American Farm Bureau Federation survey shows costs decreasing in 2004 compared to 2003. Compiled by staff

Published on: Nov 18, 2004

A traditional Thanksgiving dinner – including turkey, stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie and all the trimmings – remains affordable and will cost less this year than last, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).

In AFBF's annual informal survey of the price of basic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table, the average cost of this year's feast for 10 is $35.68, a 60-cent price decrease from last year's survey average of $36.28.

The cost of a 16-pound turkey, at $14.23 or roughly 89 cents per pound, reflects a decrease of 8 cents per pound, or a $1.24 decrease in the total average, compared to 2003. This is the largest contributor to the overall decrease in the cost of the 2004 Thanksgiving dinner. Most consumers probably purchase a Thanksgiving turkey for considerably less than the AFBF survey's average with holiday specials.

Other items showing a decrease this year included sweet potatoes - $2.73 for three pounds and a 14-ounce package of cubed stuffing at $2.24. The price of a combined pound of celery and carrots, used for a relish tray, dropped to 57 cents.

Items that increased in price this year were a 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix, $1.76; a package of two nine-inch pie shells, $1.87; a 16-ounce package of frozen green peas, $1.32; a gallon of whole milk, $2.99; a half-pint carton of whipping cream, $1.56; a 12-ounce package of fresh cranberries, $1.88; and a 12-ounce package of brown-and-serve rolls at $1.63.

"The average prices for the AFBF Thanksgiving Day dinner for the last 18 years have increased about 1.3% per year, which is well below annual increases of almost 4% per year in the overall cost of living for the same period," says AFBF Senior Economist Terry Francl. "Based on this year's average meal cost, Americans can enjoy a traditional holiday meal for just $3.57 per person. That's something worthy of thanks."