Gobbling Thanksgiving Dinner Will Cost 4% Less This Year

The average cost of a Thanksgiving dinner dropped 4% from last year, a new report finds.
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The average cost of Thanksgiving dinner dropped 4% in 2020, the lowest it has been since 2010, the American Farm Bureau Federation said in a report on Thursday.

A Thanksgiving meal for 10 people would cost an average of $46.90 in 2020, compared with $48.91 in 2019, according to the report.

The AFBF, a Washington-based trade group representing farmers and ranchers, based the report on more than 230 surveys with pricing data from all 50 states. 

Retailers are pricing turkeys to encourage consumers to shop, the group says. In this tactic retailers are using the turkeys as loss leaders, priced below cost to attract consumers and encourage them to shop for more items, according to the bureau.

The average price of a turkey dropped 7% in 2020 compared with a year earlier, to a bit more than $19 for a 16-pound turkey, according to CNBC, which reported the prices across 17 major grocery chains.

Other Thanksgiving-meal ingredients, such as whipped cream and sweet potatoes, also saw prices drop in 2020.

Prices for dinner rolls, cubed bread for stuffing, and pumpkin pie mix increased  slightly, according to the bureau.

The federation's chief economist, John Newton, said that turkeys and “other staples of the traditional Thanksgiving meal are currently in ample supply at grocery stores in most areas of the country.” 

The group said it's unclear whether consumers will panic-purchase due to the current surge in covid-19 cases. 

Media reports say that some consumers are again hoarding paper goods, as they did when the pandemic first started.

On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged Americans not to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

More than 1 million covid-19 cases were reported in the U.S. over the past seven days, the CDC said.