Rising food costs take a bite out of Thanksgiving dinner

Nov. 18—The price of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner is up by 26% since Thanksgiving 2021, New York Farm Bureau's 2022 Market Basket Survey shows.

The average total price of a meal for 10 that includes a 16-pound turkey and common trimmings is $66.39, the informal survey found. That's $13.80 more than the 2021 price of the same meal. The star of the show, the turkey, is priced at about $1.89 per pound in New York, 43 cents per pound more than in 2021 and slightly above the national average price, $1.81 per pound.

NYFB dispatched volunteer shoppers to sample prices at more than a dozen different supermarkets throughout the state between Oct. 18 and Oct. 30, and try to get the best prices available without using coupons or special deals such as "buy one get one free." The shopping list included 15 common Thanksgiving food items ranging from turkey and rolls to stuffing, vegetables and pumpkin pie mix.

The snapshot showed price increases over last year in nearly every category, except for fresh cranberries, which cost 30 cents less per package. According to NYFB's Steve Ammerman, manager of public affairs, the most notable increases were for stuffing mix, brown-and-serve rolls and frozen pie crust.

This year's Market Basket Survey also gauged price changes for an expanded menu that includes a four-pound ham, a five-pound bag of russet potatoes and a package of frozen green beans, and found the total price of an expanded meal has grown by 22%, to $82.16. Ammerman noted that hams are a relative "bargain" in New York, where the price of a four-pounder is $10.08, or $1.56 less than the national average.

Higher food prices are attributed to continued supply and demand issues, higher commodity prices due to the war in Ukraine, and increased costs of packaging and transportation.

"Despite those increases, most of those higher costs do not trickle down to the farmer, who receives only about eight cents of each dollar consumers spend on food at the store," Ammerman said. "The rest goes to pay for things like marketing, processing, and transportation of the food."

NYFB conducts the annual Market Basket Survey on behalf of the American Farm Bureau Federation, whose 2022 national survey (www.fb.org) noted the greatest year-over-year increase in Thanksgiving food prices in the survey's 37-year history. The average national cost of this year's feast is $64.05, $2.34 less than in New York.

While the price hikes surely will make it more difficult for some familiers to afford a big holiday dinner, Ammerman said it's "important to put the cost into context: at just under $6.64 per person for a family of 10, New Yorkers still enjoy one of the most affordable food supplies in the world."

Comparison shopping to find the best deals nearby is encouraged by the Farm Bureau.

"We expect more people to purchase store brand and frozen food items compared to years past because of the ongoing inflation," said Darleen Krisher-Meehan, chair of NYFB's promotion and education committee.

Ammerman noted that the price of turkey may be lower the last few days before Thanksgiving.

----2022 Market Basket Survey

These are the average prices of 15 common Thanksgiving food items on the New York Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers' grocery lists:

— Frozen, self-basting turkey (16 pounds), $30.31. The 2021 price was $23.28.

— Herb-seasoned cube stuffing mix (14 ounces), $4.03. The 2021 price was $2.29.

— Enriched brown-and-serve rolls (12 per package), $4.42. The 2021 price was $3.05.

— Gallon of whole milk, $3.86. The 2021 price was $3.42.

— Frozen peas (16 ounces), $1.94. The 2021 price was $1.34.

— Libby's pumpkin pie mix (30-ounce can), $3.87. The 2021 price was $3.69.

— Frozen pie shell, 9-inch, $3.72. The 2021 price was $2.89.

— Whipping cream, half-pint, $2.66. The 2021 price was $2.

— Carrot-celery veggie tray, $1.09. The 2021 price was 99 cents.

— Sweet potatoes (3 pounds), $3.66. The 2021 price was $3.19.

— Fresh cranberries, standard package, $2.70. The 2021 price was $3.

— Miscellaneous ingredients (butter, flour, etc.), $4.13. The 2021 price was $3.45.