Thanksgiving, that annual American rite of food overindulgence, is just weeks away. Before you settle into an easy chair and process that week’s-worth of calories you consumed in a single sitting, however, know this: That feast you just had will be the costliest Turkey Day dinner ever. Turkeys can’t fly, but their prices are soaring. (Of course there are other possibilities: Here are 12 delicious alternatives to turkey for your Thanksgiving feast.)
To compile a list of typical Thanksgiving foods and how inflation has affected their price over the past two decades, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a study by the coupon tracking platform CouponFollow. Surveying about 1,000 consumers for the report, the site compared the average cost of a dozen traditional Thanksgiving foods in 2002, 2012, and 2022 to show the impact inflation has had on them.
The overall cost of a typical Thanksgiving dinner, the report found, has climbed 64% since 2002. This year, Americans plan to spend about $251, on average, for their big holiday meal. According to CouponFollow, millennials are expected to bear the highest costs (about $300) and baby boomers the least ($140). Those identifying as Gen Z and Gen X both reported a budget of about $200.
While all the fixings have soared since 2002, it’s the cost of the bird that’s really climbed. Turkey has seen the greatest increase in price since 2002; a bird that cost about $14 two decades ago is now almost $10 more. (Things could be worse. These are the countries with the worst inflation in the world.)
Forty-year inflation and a persistent outbreak of the viral avian flu earlier this year have been driving up the costs of producing turkeys, according to a September story in Forbes. This year, the flu has killed 4.5 million turkeys, or 2.5% of U.S. turkey production. Drilling down into inflation factors, turkey costs have also climbed because of higher feed prices and more expensive fuel.
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