Thanksgiving dinners and budgets are looking a little different this year as Americans have watched prices for their favorite holiday foods increase by more than 20%.
Some local residents are even considering cutting their losses and skipping the Thanksgiving dinner costs and preparations.
“You know, the increases in food prices have been drastic and there is no way to avoid noticing,” Idaho Falls resident Shawn Hill said. “A $50 turkey is not normal to me. My wife and I really considered spending less, saving time and taking ourselves to Johnny Carino’s this year for Thanksgiving dinner.
“Our daughter didn’t let us get away with it and insisted that we keep the tradition going but it was a close call.”
According to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 37th annual cost survey, the average cost for a Thanksgiving dinner serving 10 people is up 20% this year compared to the same list of items in 2021, representing the highest “year-over-year increase in the cost of the meal in the survey’s history, surpassing last year’s 14% increase, which was also a record at the time,” a Farm Bureau news release said.
The last two years of Thanksgiving dinner costs have shown an overall increase of 37% compared to the holiday’s average cost in 2020.
According to Farm Bureau Federation economists, there are several factors to blame for the steep increases, including general inflation, the war in Ukraine, supply chain issues and increasing labor costs.
“General inflation slashing the purchasing power of consumers is a significant factor contributing to the increase in average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner,” Chief Economist Roger Cryan said in the release.
Idaho Farm Bureau Federation President Bryan Searle said in the release that “there is no sugar-coating this year’s cost increase.”
Searle said, “Farmers continue to work hard to meet growing U.S. and global demand for food while at the same time facing rapidly rising costs for farm inputs, including fuel and fertilizer.
“Idaho and U.S. farmers will continue to plow ahead with their usual food production plans in the coming year, despite a substantial increase in farm production costs.”
Searle also said it is important that people understand the farmer’s share of the food dollar has not changed despite the increases in all other food costs, production costs and labor costs.
According to United States Department of Agriculture’s economic research service, farmers and ranchers are only receiving an average of 8% of every dollar spent on food in the United States.
Despite no increase in pay for American farmers and ranchers, most traditional items found on Thanksgiving dinner tables across the country continue to rise year by year.
Idaho Falls resident Virgil Malley had his family’s Thanksgiving dinner a little early this year due to scheduling conflicts but he could not escape the “drastic rise” in the meal’s cost.
“We hosted 30 people in our home, so yes, the increase in pricing was definitely a factor we thought about,” Malley said. “Really, it didn’t stop the celebration because everyone pitched in with the cost and food and even if it was hard, you can’t not have Thanksgiving, you’ve just got to have it.”
The Associated Press reported that “wholesale turkey prices are at record highs after a difficult year for U.S. flocks with a particularly deadly strain of avian flu …”
The flu was first reported in the U.S. in February on an Indiana turkey farm and has since wiped out nearly 50 million turkeys and other poultry in 46 states this year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
As a result, officials predict the wholesale price of a frozen turkey will hit $1.77 per pound in November, up 28% from the same month last year, the article said.
Some local grocery stores are seeing an even sharper increase in turkey prices, with the Broulim’s in Ammon showing prices at $2.29 per pound Friday for a Butterball “premium” brand bird.
And that’s not accounting for higher-than-average prices for canned pumpkin, eggs, boxed stuffing, potatoes, green beans and many other Thanksgiving staples.
“We host every year and we have definitely noticed the increase in food prices,” said Diane Price of Idaho Falls. “We used to be able to go to the grocery store weekly and get everything we needed for $100, now there is no way we are spending less than $200. The prices have not stopped us from shopping for Thanksgiving dinner because it’s a tradition and we have to do it, but they have not made it easier.”
As Price and her husband loaded their groceries into the trunk of their car she said despite the higher costs, they are, “full of gratitude” that they were still fortunate enough to easily afford them.