Thanksgiving Dinner price down, but remains high overall

by | Nov 23, 2023 | 5 Ag Stories, News

As we sit down to today’s Thanksgiving feast, we always take time to be thankful for all the blessings in our lives. However, as we pause to give thanks, please remember to thank those who produce our food. Without farmers and ranchers, we would be in a very bad way. Senator Chuck Grassley has often said that we are always only three meals away from revolution. That means that there would be great unrest if there wasn’t enough food to feed people for over a day and a half.

While we are greatly accustomed to having all the food we want, whenever we want it, we are also finding ourselves spending more money than in recent years to secure that food. That is hurting the bottom line of many American families and forcing them to make some very tough choices. The American Farm Bureau Federation recently released the results of its 38th annual survey of the cost of Thanksgiving Dinner prices for a group of ten.

The latest information shows that the price of the meal has dropped almost three dollars from $64.05 in 2022 to $61.17 in 2023. This is still sharply higher than the $53.31 price tag in 2021, and the last pre-pandemic Thanksgiving of 2019 which had a price tag 25% lower than this year.

The shoppers that make up the survey group check the prices of several Thanksgiving staples for the first few days of November. The centerpiece of the meal, the turkey, led the price retreat at an average price of $1.71 per pound, 5.6% cheaper than a year ago. USDA announced that prices were even lower during the second week of the month.

You can see the list of the items surveyed in the graphic below.


However, it seems more and more that the farmers and ranchers who are producing this food are still getting the short end of the Thanksgiving dinner dollar. The National Farmers’ Union released its annual survey of the average price that farmers receive for the feast we consume. If we compare that against the AFBF’s findings we will see that out of the average cost of $61.57 for the average Thanksgiving dinner, $3.57 of that goes to the farmer. That means that $58 dollars of those profits goes to the people between the farmer and the consumer.

Now, farmers know that there are many hands that play a part in getting our products to the consumers’ tables. There are truckers that haul the goods to processing, workers that process our goods, and truckers that ship the products. From there it goes to distributors and retailers for sale to the public. Nowhere are there farmers saying that these people don’t deserve a share of this profit, because they are keeping the process going. However, it is alarming that those who make sure that the products we consume are sustainable and safe, are receiving barely more than 5% of the profits.

Farmers are much too modest to make loud complaints about the situation, they understand that this is part of the situation of marketing food in the United States. Please take the time to remember farmers and thank them in your Thanksgiving prayers or reflections this year. They are proud to be a part of your holiday feast and are thankful for your consumption of their products.