Based on its survey of food prices, the American Farm Bureau Federation (FB) estimates that the average cost of Thanksgiving dinner for Americans will be about $48.90 this year. This cost is based on a meal to feed ten people, making the cost per person $48.90, for those too focused on dessert and football to make the calculation.
This is down about 22 cents from the price estimate of $49.12 last season and the five-year average of $49.50 but is up 18 cents vs. the five-year average of $47.72. These figures aside, Thanksgiving dinner will be the cheapest it has been since 2009, at least in absolute dollar terms. Adjusting for inflation, it will be the cheapest since 2006, based on annual inflation rates.
Per FB, milk, rolls, green peas, sweet potatoes, and especially the turkey are cheaper in 2018, while pumpkin pie mix, pie shells, stuffing, and other vegetables and ingredients are marginally more expensive. FB also calculated the price of a “modern” Thanksgiving dinner, featuring additional items like ham, potatoes, and green beans, with a price tag of $61.70 for a meal for ten.
Driving to Thanksgiving dinner may not be cheaper than last year, but retail gasoline prices are down from October, and AAA estimates that more people will be traveling longer distances. Some 48.5 million will be driving more than 50 miles, up almost 5 percent from the number of travelers in 2017. Some 4.27 million people will be flying, up 5.7 percent YOY.
With that in mind, travel safe and happy holidays!
Annual estimated price of Thanksgiving dinner