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Yes, Thanksgiving may be more expensive this year

Analysis is divided on how steep the price increase is on Thanksgiving staples.

WASHINGTON — All year we’ve been talking about the rising cost of daily items–and that conversation might just come up at the dinner table this Thanksgiving. 


Do analysts expect this Thanksgiving to be more expensive than previous years?



While analysts agree on a cost increase compared to last year, there’s discrepancy when it comes to exactly how much pricier it will be.


A gathering with friends and loved ones can feel priceless, but it may actually be pretty pricey this year. 

Along with general inflation, The American Farm Bureau Federation and personal finance site Money Geek list supply chain disruptions and the war in Ukraine, plus a bout of avian influenza impacting turkey flocks earlier this year, as reasons for a more expensive meal this holiday.

The Farm Bureau’s annual survey tallied the cost of a “classic” Thanksgiving meal for ten people: a total of $64.05; that’s up 20% from last year’s average.

“The shopping list for Farm Bureau’s informal survey includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty for leftovers,” the organization states on its website. 

However, the average cost was calculated using just 224 surveys completed by “volunteer shoppers,” and the oft-cited headline has been criticized as over-stating the cost increase of this year’s holiday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest report tracking turkey prices shows smaller price hikes on the Thanksgiving centerpiece: a frozen hen will cost about 7 cents more per pound than last year. A fresh hen will cost an extra 40 cents per pound. That's about $22 for a 10-pound bird.

However, if all of this sounds lower than what you’re seeing locally: Money Geek analysis finds meals are more expensive around here.

“The DMV is the fifth-most-expensive metro area for Thanksgiving dinner as a whole at $153 for a 10 pound turkey, side dishes, refreshments and cooking staples,” said analyst Doug Milnes.

If you’re staying in town, some of the money you save on travel might get spent on that turkey. Money Geek also found the DMV has the highest prices for turkey in the country, though Milnes admits it’s hard to verify exactly why that would be.

“Maybe everybody really, really loves turkey in the Washington, D.C. area, and  therefore there's a higher demand and prices are higher,” said Milnes. 

That Money Geek analysis found an average of over $4 per pound for fresh turkey. 

However, this week Verify also ran some numbers on prices advertised online at Giant, Wegmans, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and Safeway D.C. stores. We ran some calculations for prices advertised online at major groceries in D.C. We found a lower average cost of $1.95 per pound for a fresh turkey, signaling how prices can vary widely day-by-day or even within more local ranges.

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