Cost of Thanksgiving Dinner Increases 13%, But Remains a Bargain at Less than $5 Per Person
WASHINGTON, D.C., November 10, 2011 – "The retail cost of menu items for a classic Thanksgiving dinner including turkey, stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie and all the basic trimmings increased about 13 percent this year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). AFBF’s 26th annual informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $49.20, a $5.73 price increase from last year’s average of $43.47.
In 2011 dollars, the $49.20 cost this year for a dinner for ten was the highest since 1990, when the inflation-adjusted cost was $49.53. Compared to the highest inflation-adjusted cost in the AFBF's data series of $58.78 in 1986, this year's Thanksgiving dinner for ten is 16.3% lower than 25 years ago.
Update: The bottom chart above shows the "time cost" of a Thanksgiving dinner measured in the number of hours of work at the average hourly wage that would generate enough income to purchase the turkey dinner for ten at the retail price. This year it will require about 2.5 hours of work at $19.53 per hour to purchase the dinner for $49.20, and that "time cost" has been relatively stable for the last twenty years, and 22% below the "time cost" of 3.22 hours in 1986.
Bottom Line: The fact that the average American family can celebrate Thanksgiving with a turkey dinner feast for ten people at a "time cost" of only 2.5 hours of work for one person means that we really have a lot to be thankful for on Thanksgiving: an abundance of cheap, affordable food. Exhibit A: In 1929, the average American family spent 22.7% of their disposable income on food, and today's families spend half that amount: only 11.4% (data here).
HT: Bob Wright