SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – This Thanksgiving, gathering the family around for a turkey dinner is expected to gobble up more funds than years past.
According to data collected by the American Farm Bureau, the cost of the bird in 2021 has risen by 24% from last year, with an average price of $23.99 for a 16-pound turkey.
While the main attraction at the holiday meal had the sharpest increase in cost compared to last year, it’s not the only item expected to be more expensive. A four-pound serving of ham is on average $1.71 more while other offerings such as pie shells, pumpkin pie mix, Russet potatoes, rolls, and cranberries all see an uptick, although all were less than 50 cents more.
On the positive side, stuffing is estimated to be about 52 cents cheaper as compared to last year.
The Farm Bureau, which has been doing its survey on the cost of Thanksgiving dinner since 1986, is totaling the average cost for a home-cooked turkey feast of 10 to cost $53.31 in 2021, a 14% increase from 2020’s average fee of $46.90.
Veronica Nigh, a Senior Economist for the Farm Bureau, says – unsurprisingly – that the continued pandemic and supply chain issues in the United States have combined to create the increase in dinner prices.
“Several factors contributed to the increase in average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner,” said Nigh in a press release from the Bureau. “These 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.”
Despite the increase in overall costs, the report states that consumers who have yet to bring a bird home to prepare for the big day on Thursday might end up paying less. The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service data shows that the advertised price of turkey started at $1.07 per pound on the week of Nov. 5-11 before dropping to 88 cents per pound the next week.
Even though supply chain problems have caused shortages for many products Americans need or want, Lindee Nance, who works as the Vice President of Marketing for Harmons says Utahns won’t have any issues putting Thanksgiving on the table this year.
“We are excited for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and have great inventory levels despite some hiccups in the supply chain,” Nance explains to ABC4.com. “We are confident that we can provide our customers with everything they need to create a wonderful holiday experience for their families.”
Her biggest advice to help mitigate a more expensive meal: stay home to cook and find a local grocer to buy all the goodies.
“We know that many people have questions about the cost of the holidays this year. We also know that the best way to manage our food budgets is to cook from home,” she says. “What else can you do? Shop local. By keeping grocery dollars in Utah, we are supporting local artisans and craftspeople and reinvesting in the strength of our local economy and supply chain.”
While there may not be a mad rush to scramble up the last remaining turkeys for the celebration, the time to grab your turkey is rapidly drawing to a close. Most cooking experts recommend putting the frozen turkey in the refrigerator at least one to two days before the meal to let it thaw properly.
So while the data shows Americans may have to tighten the belt when purchasing the fixings for the dinner, by the end of Thanksgiving, many will likely be loosening those same belts at the end of the meal.
As is tradition.