ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) — It may seem like it costs a small fortune to host a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. And thanks to rising prices, this year’s meal may be the most expensive in decades. So what’s driving those costs?
Your main dish is likely to cost more this year. Across the U.S., the per-pound price of turkey has been on the rise.
Estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) put the price of turkey at around $1.71 per pound this fall. That’s almost a 30% increase over last year, which was already up from previous years.
Inflation might be to blame in part for the high prices, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation, a food-focused advocacy group. But supply and demand could play a role as well.
The presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) among birds tightens the supply. And the American Farm Bureau Federation notes that there’s been a slight uptick in cases this fall. Meanwhile, USDA predicts demand to remain moderate. All in all, it’s a recipe for higher prices.
On top of your main dish costing more, it’s likely that the ingredients for your sides will also be more expensive this year. Egg prices, for example, are at a multi-year high.
Inflation is playing a big part in record-setting egg prices. In October 2022, a dozen eggs cost an average of $3.42 in U.S. cities. At the same time last year, they only cost an average of $1.82, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which keeps track of inflation.
Across the U.S., the average cost of eggs is at a decade high compared to previous fall prices. Data: BLS
Likewise, milk is near record-high prices. The average cost of a gallon of whole milk in cities across the U.S. has been over $4.10 for the last few months. This year is the first time in the last decade that milk was above $4 per gallon, according to BLS data.
Flour is more expensive too. As of October, the average price across cities in the U.S. was $0.53 per pound. In October 2021, it was more then 10 cents cheaper, according to BLS data.
Finally, the cost of vegetables has gone up this year as well. The humble yet quintessential potato has doubled in cost since 2008, according to data from the Federal Reserve of St. Louis. In the last year, the per-pound price of white potatoes has increased by nearly 20 cents, although the October cost is down slightly from September.
Options for saving money
If you want a big meal with all the trimmings, it will cost you. But if you’re willing to make a few adjustments, you can save a little money.
Of course, you can use some frozen or canned vegetables as a cheaper alternative to fresh. And you can cut costs by substituting lower-quality ingredients. But if you don’t want to sacrifice the quality of your main dishes, maybe consider cutting one of the side dishes or desserts — just make sure you don’t cut the family favorite.
Another option for reducing cost is reducing the quantity. For some, Thanksgiving is all about leftovers. But if your family tends to toss more than they re-heat the next week, you might consider simply going with a smaller, cheaper turkey.