Average Cost of Thanksgiving Meal Increases by One Penny

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Data from American Farm Bureau Federation Shows Cost of Annual Feast 

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – What day are you traveling? Where do you celebrate? Who’s cooking? These and other questions are in the air this week as Americans form their Thanksgiving plans. But one question – how much does it cost – has a big impact on Tennessee families.

“Celebrating Thanksgiving is a family tradition for millions of Americans, but the rising costs of meat, dairy and fresh produce can be a big concern,” says Ann Berry, professor and family economics expert with University of Tennessee Extension. According to newly released data from the American Farm Bureau Federation, the average cost the annual meal is only increasing by one penny this year. Looking at classic items purchased, such as turkey, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, milk, rolls, and cranberries, the Federation has tracked prices for 34 years.

“Seeing such a small increase is a big encouragement to many people,” adds Berry. “Budgeting for the big Thanksgiving meal can be burdensome, but prices holding steady will help many through the holiday.”

Traditionally, the survey for the cost of Thanksgiving dinner includes a 16-poud turkey, a 30 ounce mix for pumpkin pie and two pie shells, one gallon of whole milk, a one-pound veggie tray with celery and carrots, a dozen rolls, one pound of green peas, 12 ounces fresh cranberries, half a pint of whipped cream, 14 ounces cubed stuffing, three pounds of sweet potatoes, and miscellaneous ingredients. Other items traditionally priced include a four-pound ham, five pounds of russet potatoes and one pound of green beans. 

To make Thanksgiving celebrations more affordable, Berry suggests asking friends and family to bring an item and limit the number of dishes served.

The full report is available online, with prices for 2018 and 2019. Log on to fb.org and search “cost of Thanksgiving.”

For more financial resources, contact the family and consumer sciences agent at your local county Extension office. You can also visit the UT Extension Family and Consumer Sciences website at fcs.tennessee.edu

Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions.  utia.tennessee.edu.

Media Contact

Ann A. Berry

Department of Family and Consumer Sciences



Ann A. Berry