Why Thanksgiving Turkeys Are Cheaper This Year

One key factor has ensured that the price of turkey doesn't skyrocket this year.

It's not often we get to talk about price relief at the grocery store these days, but we'll take the good where we can get it. The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) recently released its 38th annual Thanksgiving dinner survey, which studies the average cost of a Thanksgiving meal for 10 people, and there's some positive news to be found: Prices have gone down since last year, and it's mainly because the centerpiece of the table, the turkey, has reduced in cost.

Why Thanksgiving turkey prices are lower in 2023

The AFBF says that the average price of Thanksgiving dinner for 10 is now $61.17, down from $64.05 in 2022. This assumes a meal composed of turkey, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, stuffing, a veggie tray, peas, cranberries, and a pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

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The core item bringing down the price is the turkey. The price per pound is $1.71, which is down a significant 5.6% from last year. While the price relief is nice, this is somewhat bittersweet; the total price this year is still 25% higher than it was in 2019.

So, what's with the drop in turkey prices? The main driver of this relief is the sharp decline in cases of avian flu, which, if you'll recall, was what decimated flocks and affected the cost of eggs and poultry last year.

The other items that have decreased notably in price include a half pint of whipping cream, which is $1.73 (down 22.8% from last year) and a 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries, down to $2.10 (an 18.3% price reduction). Most of the other ingredient prices are down between 1% to 5%.

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We've seen the price of eggs come down thanks to the downward trajectory of avian flu rates, and now our big bird will cost us less, too. If there's one thing to be thankful for this year, it might be the turkey itself. 

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