This holiday season, consumers are expected to open up their wallets more for everything from shopping to travel, and now it seems they will spend more on Thanksgiving dinner as well, but not necessarily because they want to.
After declining in 2009, the average cost of a Thanksgiving meal for a family of 10 increased this year by 1.3% to $43.47, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation, which tracks the changing prices for 12 popular Thanksgiving foods including turkey, cranberries and pumpkin pie mix. That falls about $1 shy of the price of a meal in 2008, the most expensive year on record, and is roughly $8 more than it cost back in 2004.
According to the report, the only item which is cheaper now than in 2009 is milk. Everything else will be more expensive, with a 16-pound turkey costing $19.09, or about $1.50 more than it did last year.
“This Thanksgiving is probably going to be one of the most expensive that we’ve had in a while,” said Phil Lempert, editor of SupermarketGuru.com, a site that tracks food marketing trends. “People will be spending more this year because they have to.”
In order to cope with the price rise for the traditional Thanksgiving meal, many Americans are expected to find creative ways to cut corners when planning out their family dinners.
“Over the past three years, people have learned a bunch of new shopping behaviors for food, like going to dollar stores and using coupons,” Lempert said. “Even though we may not be as desperate now as we were a few years ago, we have still maintained those behaviors, and will probably exercise them now as prices go up again.”
So what does that mean for Thanksgiving dinner this year? For starters, don’t be too surprised if you end up at an event where the main course is a frozen turkey.
“More people this year seem to be foregoing heritage turkeys and instead have decided to go for fresh and frozen turkeys from super markets and places like CostCo,” said Tanya Steel, Editor-in-Chief of Epicurious, a popular online publication that features recipes and tips for foodies. “That’s where we are really seeing people try to save money.”