Heart of Ag: What Can We Expect to Pay for Our Thanksgiving Dinner
November is here. It’s a month for gratitude and thankfulness. And, as Thanksgiving draws near, preparations begin to celebrate with loved ones gathered around the dinner table to enjoy a bountiful feast.
Inflation and interest rates continue to be a topic of discussion at the agricultural banking meetings I’ve been speaking at during the last several months.
An overall theme I’m seeing in the industry is a sentiment of cautious trepidation about what 2024 will bring.
Although there is some market uncertainty at the moment, with many retailers reporting a downturn in sales, I have a mixed bag of good and bad news for the cost of our upcoming Thanksgiving dinner.
As we make our ingredient list and prepare to head to the grocery store for our Thanksgiving meal, the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) says the sticker price will be down compared to 2022 levels.
Per the AFBF report, the average price of an eight- to 16-pound turkey will be 22 percent lower than this time last year. In 2022, turkey reached a record $1.72 per pound, due to inflation and avian influenza. However, this year, we are looking at an average price for turkey at $1.27 per pound.
AFBF Economist Bernt Nelson reports, “Farmers and consumers alike should receive some turkey price relief for Thanksgiving. With very few avian influenza detections, turkey and poultry supplies have recovered over the last year. This means there is plenty of turkey – and the lower prices which come with strong supplies – to go around for Thanksgiving.”
Meanwhile, Moody’s Analytics reports inflation is up 3.7 percent from a year ago, with Americans spending $235 more per month on the same products they did in the previous year.
According to ABC News, “Staple items such as ham and potatoes will cost more this year, up 6.9 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively. Egg prices are back down by 28.8 percent from last year, now costing $2.07 on average.”
For perspective, AFBF reported the Thanksgiving meal for 2022 for a family of 10 was $64.05, or less than $6.50 per person. This is a 20 percent increase from the average of $54.31 in 2021.
Retailers like Aldi and Walmart are offering discounted holiday menu items to address the overall rise in prices. However, don’t overlook the local grocery store in favor of the big box stores if it can be helped.
Shoppers are looking to get their items for the holidays earlier, with many outlets entering a “price war” for consumer dollars in quarter four. Savvy consumers should look to price shop and compare discounts, coupons and other special offers retailers may share this holiday season.
Yet, in our frenzy to get the best bang for our buck, I urge readers to remember the value small family-owned American businesses bring to the table.
Look to Main Street first to purchase unique and meaningful gift items this holiday season. Add interest to holiday menus with locally-produced cheeses, summer sausages and wines. Consider gift cards to local restaurants for the hard-to-shop-for someone.
And, consider the best gift of all – where we spend our dollars reflects the America we want to see in the future.
I don’t know about you, but I want to see rural America bursting at the seams with new ideas, entrepreneurial pursuits, businesses and opportunities. And, the only way I can do this is by prioritizing where my disposable dollars go and knowing the best gifts keep my dollars circulating in rural America.
Amanda Radke is a rancher, author, motivational speaker and podcast host. For more from Radke, visit amandaradke.com.