Tennesseans pay more for Thanksgiving than the rest of the country

Published 4:15 pm Wednesday, November 22, 2023

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Tennesseans will pay more this week for the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, while the rest of the nation pays a little less.

The University of Tennessee Extension Office found prices for turkey, milk and eggs have fallen compared to last year, but the overall cost for Thanksgiving Day meals will be about 15% higher this year than last year.

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The offices surveyed grocery stores across Tennessee from Nov. 1-8 on food items used for a traditional meal, such as turkey and stuffing, cranberry sauce, ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, English pea salad, deviled eggs, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and rolls.

It estimated the meal would feed 10.

This year, the cost was $128.02, a 14% increase over a year ago.

“Shrinkflation, or reducing the volume or quantity of product in a package but charging the same or higher price, is a company’s answer to the rising cost of food,” Consumer Economics Specialist Ann Berry said. “Remember to check your recipes and adjust for any discrepancies.”

Nationally, the American Farm Bureau Federation expects the cost to feed 10 for a traditional dinner will be $3 less than last year.

The bureau showed a traditional cost in 2023 to be $61.17, a 4.5% decrease from last year but still 25% higher than the same meal in 2019.

“Traditionally, the turkey is the most expensive item on the Thanksgiving dinner table,” bureau senior economist Veronica Nigh. “Turkey prices have fallen thanks to a sharp reduction in cases of avian influenza, which have allowed production to increase in time for the holiday.”

The bureau’s shopping list includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, and pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

“While shoppers will see a slight improvement in the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner, high inflation continues to hammer families across the country, including the nation’s farmers,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said. “Growing the food families rely on is a constant challenge for farmers because of high fuel, seed, fertilizer and transportation costs, just to name a few.”