Consumers could be paying a little bit more for their 2020 Thanksgiving dinner.
The New York Farm Bureau’s 2020 Market Basket Survey shows the price of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner saw a modest uptick from last year's meal. The average total price, which includes a 16-pound turkey and other common items found on a holiday dinner table, is $49.23 or a $2.86 increase over last year. Farm Bureau Spokesman Steve Ammerman:
"We're seeing turkey prices about $1.41 a pound that really ranges across the state from about 68 cents in Amsterdam to well over $1, more than that, in the Finger Lakes area. But of course, as we move closer to Thanksgiving, turkey prices will continue to drop in a lot of stores, reflecting sales and the ways to entice shoppers to get in before the holiday. The New York numbers revealed prices in several different categories. They did rise for things like a gallon of milk, Libby's pumpkin pie mix, and some cranberries that we saw prices drop whipping cream, for instance, which is a reflection from the pandemic, when we saw the restaurants and institutions shut down their big purchasers of butter and high cream, so there's a little bit more of a supply still on the market."
But on a national level, the American Farm Bureau Federation’s survey found the average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving feast is $46.90. That’s a $2.01 decrease from last year’s national average of $48.91.
Ammerman says this year’s survey in New York also includes a more notable increase for an expanded menu that includes a four-pound ham, five-pound bag of russet potatoes and a package of frozen green beans. When those prices are included, the total meal price jumps to $64.31, more than $4 over last year’s number. As bare shelves are once again appearing in some major supermarkets, do you need to run out and get that turkey before the crowd gobbles up the existing supply?
"That's another thing that people don't need to worry about. I know that they're hearing the stories of potential, you know, increases in pandemic buying. But the people don't need to worry about that. There's an ample supply across the food chain. And, you know, I think we learned a lot last spring, and the food distributors and processors are in a much better position this time around as the surge spikes again, but people don't need to worry."
The Bureau says that the classic dinner remains affordable with a price point of under $5 per person for a 10-person meal.
"The bottom line is that despite the slight increase, we still believe that it's an affordable dinner, it's slightly under $5 per person. At the same time, we're farmers out there still working hard to make sure the food is on the table. And we are hoping they are people remember the farmers and their employees and the central workers and really celebrate the best they can under the challenging time."
Ammerman says New York Farm Bureau’s volunteer shoppers sampled prices at 14 different supermarkets throughout the state trying to get the best prices available.