LANSING — According to a recent American Farm Bureau Federation survey, consumers will spend less on the classic Thanksgiving dinner (of about 10 people) by nearly 4%. At $46.90, or less than $5 per person, it’s the lowest average cost for a Thanksgiving dinner since 2010.
“Retailers know this is going to be a special year for our intimate, private gatherings,” said John Newton, AFBF chief economist. “At this point, retailers have not passed the higher ham costs down to their consumers, despite wholesale prices up more than 20%.”
After fielding 230 survey responses, AFBF found turkey costs dipped by about 7% to $19.39 for a 16-pound whole bird. Whipping cream and sweet potato costs also declined from last year at about 16% and 8% respectively. Elsewhere, the price of a 4-pound ham remained unchanged ($9.16).
AFBF also found purchasing turkeys from a meal-delivery service will cost a person 64% more at $1.99 per pound or 42% higher for the overall Thanksgiving dinner.
To find out more about Thanksgiving food prices, click here.
“I do believe we will have smaller gatherings in light of COVID-19,” said Ernie Birchmeier, manager of the Center for Commodity Farm and Industry Relations for Michigan Farm Bureau.
Part of the reason is due to the Nov. 15 emergency order from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, which limited gatherings to two households at any one time.
“The important thing is there is plenty of food out there,” Birchmeier said. “It may come in smaller portions, depending on the family size. When folks are out shopping, they are going to have to consider that, whether it’s buying a smaller turkey, a smaller ham, or a smaller amount of potatoes or stuffing or cranberries.”
In Grand Rapids, most Michigan turkeys are processed at Michigan Turkey Producers, a farmer-owned cooperative. Data collected by the trade group Michigan Allied Poultry Industries indicate the state produces 5.3 million birds each year.
The birds weigh 40 pounds and contribute $100 million to the state’s economy.
“Turkey farms in Michigan mainly raise toms, which are bigger than a typical hen raised for a Thanksgiving turkey,” said Allison Brink, executive director of MAPI. “However, one of the main products from a tom is a whole turkey breast, which is perfect for the smaller gatherings happening this year.”