UT Extension Survey Shows 14% Increase
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Commodities like turkeys, milk and eggs have decreased in price compared to 2022, but University of Tennessee Extension has found that the overall cost of this year’s Thanksgiving Day meals will increase by approximately 14 percent. While these price hikes may be daunting, UT Extension offers advice on how to enjoy a budget-friendly holiday meal.
UT Agricultural and Resource Economics Professor Andrew Griffith shares that wholesale turkey breast prices are down 61 percent compared to last year, having spent much of the year trading between $2.50 and $3.00 per pound. Similarly, 8–16-pound whole hen prices at the wholesale level are down 31 percent from a year ago.
The retail price of eggs has also been steadily declining since peaking in January at $4.82 per dozen and was $2.04 per dozen in August. Additionally, the retail price of a gallon of milk is down nearly 7 percent compared to last year.
“Although the prices of these commodities are still high compared to the past five years, they are extremely low when compared to 2022,” Griffith explained.
Despite the price breaks offered by these particular staples, Tennesseans should still expect to pay more at the grocery store this holiday season. UT Extension’s Consumer Economics Leadership Team recently conducted a survey that projected a 14% increase in costs associated with a traditional Thanksgiving Day meal.
The team, led by Professor and Consumer Economics Specialist Ann Berry, surveyed grocery stores across Tennessee from November 1 to November 8. This timeframe was chosen to reflect some grocers running specials on many items used in the traditional holiday meal. Prices for store brands were used when available. A few stores did not have some of the items in stock.
The survey included items that are traditionally used to prepare a Tennessee Thanksgiving meal, including 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. The leadership team also estimated that the Thanksgiving meal would feed 10 people.
This year the total cost of the complete meal for 10 was $128.02, with a per person cost of $12.80, a 14% increase over last year. Berry explains that shrinkflation is a factor in the increased cost.
“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,” Berry said. “Remember to check your recipes and adjust for any discrepancies.”
For many, Thanksgiving is only the beginning of holiday season spending. To help relieve some of the stress and financial burden of the Thanksgiving meal, UT Extension specialists suggest strategic budgeting and shopping the sales for your Thanksgiving meal. If the cost of preparing this year’s Thanksgiving meal will be too expensive, consider dividing up the dishes among your guests.
Another way to relieve the financial stress associated with the holidays is to stretch dollars spent on meals by using leftovers. UT Extension Nutrition Specialist and Assistant Professor Kristen Johnson explains that there are many creative ways to incorporate leftovers into a variety of delicious and nutritious dishes.
“Incorporating leftovers into your meal plan is a great way to make the most of your time and money this holiday season,” Johnson said. “Leftover turkey, green beans, corn, sweet potatoes and other vegetables can be used in soups, stews, sandwiches and casseroles. Leftover cranberries are a flavorful, nutritious topping on oatmeal, waffles and pancakes.”
All leftovers should be used or frozen by the Monday after Thanksgiving. As you’re preparing your Thanksgiving meal and your Thanksgiving leftovers, remember that perishable foods should not remain at room temperature for more than two hours.
The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture is comprised of the Herbert College of Agriculture, UT College of Veterinary Medicine, UT AgResearch and UT Extension. Through its land-grant mission of teaching, research and outreach, the Institute touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. to Tennesseans and beyond. utia.tennessee.edu.
The entire breakdown of the team’s survey results is available below.
|Ham, 4 lbs.||$26.00|
|Frozen green peas, 16 oz.||$1.97|
|Frozen green beans, 16 oz.||$2.22|
|Pie shells (2)||$3.59|
|Sweet potatoes, 3 lbs.||$3.03|
|Russet potatoes, 5 lbs.||$3.21|
|1-pound prepared vegetable tray||$6.07|
|Fresh cranberries, 12 oz bag||$2.20|
|Canned pumpkin pie mix or filling, 30 oz.||$4.11|
|Canned cranberry sauce, 14 oz.||$2.01|
|Can of mushroom soup||$1.33|
|Sugar, 4 lbs.||$3.48|
|Pecan halves, 10 oz.||$8.98|
|Marshmallows, 1 lbs.||$2.12|
|Stuffing mix, 6 oz. (2)||$4.36|
|Crispy fried onions, 3.5 oz.||$2.52|
|Cans of evaporated milk 12 oz. (2)||$3.32|
|Milk, 1-gallon whole||$3.81|
|Whipping cream, ½ pint||$2.72|
|Butter, 1 lbs.||$4.77|