Thanksgiving dinner will cost 1.5% less this year, the lowest in five years.
That’s according to the annual price survey conducted by the American Farm Bureau Federation. The price of the meal for 10 people will average $49.12.
But another survey finds the average American will spend $165.14 celebrating Thanksgiving. That figure, obtained through a survey of 1,000 adults by LendEDU, includes travel in addition to the cost of the traditional dinner.
LendEDU simply asked survey respondents, "How much do you expect to spend celebrating Thanksgiving this year?"
Of the $165.14 total, the average celebrator of Thanksgiving will spend $67.59 (41%) on travel expenses. Travel costs include plane tickets, gas money, bus tickets, hotel expenses, etc. The total expenditure for all other costs was $97.55, or 59% of the total.
Yet, the actual meal will be just a fraction of those “other costs.” AFBF says the price of this year’s dinner is down 75 cents from last year’s average of $49.87.
"The last time Thanksgiving was this cheap was 2013," says John Newton, AFBF market intelligence director. "The fact you can have that classic meal for under $5 per person says a lot about the U.S. farmer and the harvest they produce every year."
The biggest factor driving this year’s meal cost lower is the price of the 16-pound turkey, down 36 cents to an average to $22.38 from $22.74 last year. That's a decline of 1.6 percent.
"Wholesale turkey prices are now below $1 [per pound] for the first time since 2013," said Newton. "We have an abundant supply of turkeys, and that's really leading to some of the lower prices that consumers are seeing at the grocery store."
The survey, which has been conducted annually since 1986, is completed by volunteer shoppers around the country and looks at regular-priced items. It doesn't reflect store coupons or other discounting.
Demand for organic and specialty turkeys has been growing in recent years, but the most popular ones for Thanksgiving remain frozen whole birds.