Thanksgiving meal costs more than ever in Illinois

(The Center Square) – It is going to cost more than ever for those Thanksgiving Day dinner staples this year.

Illinois shoppers taking part in the 37th annual American Farm Bureau Federation’s Thanksgiving cost survey reported a statewide average price of $65.53 for a classic Thanksgiving meal for 10, compared to $58.15 last year, a 12.7% increase. The average price in 2017 was $49.12.

Mike Doherty, senior economist with the Illinois Farm Bureau, said you can blame overall inflation.

“Inflation meaning the general rise of all costs of everything we’re buying,” said Doherty. “Labor, transportation, energy costs, packaging costs, they’re all going up.”

The national average cost for turkey, a staple main dish in many Thanksgiving meals, increased 21% to $28.96 over the past year. Doherty said some of the price increases are related to conditions on the farm.

“Some of these are related to agricultural supply and demand, like the price of turkeys going up,” he said. “That is related to the [Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza A] virus that killed off some of the turkeys or depopulated some of the commercial turkey operations.”

There are deals to be had on frozen turkeys. According to USDA Agricultural Marketing Service data, the average per-pound feature price for whole frozen turkeys was $1.11 the week of Nov. 3-9, but fell 14% to 95 cents the following week. This means consumers who have not yet purchased a turkey should be able to find one at a lower price than the Farm Bureau average.

In total, 11 food items increased in average price and only one item, cranberries, decreased. The largest price increase is for cubed bread stuffing, which is up nearly 70% from last year.

In recognition of changes in Thanksgiving dinner traditions, the Farm Bureau price survey also includes some new items, including 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. The updated basket of foods also increased in price by 18% compared to 2021.

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