November 22, 2022
Last spring as diesel prices climbed higher and higher with no real relief in sight, it became clear to folks on the first rung of the food chain that food was about to get expensive. Sure enough, the average Thanksgiving meal in Illinois will cost about 13% more this year compared to last year.
The American Farm Bureau Federation has just released its annual Thanksgiving cost survey, marked by inflation across every food category. In Illinois, the average classic Thanksgiving meal for 10 will cost $65.53, or $6.55 per person. That’s up from $58.15 last year.
Illinoisians are paying slightly more than the rest of the country for food. Nationwide, the average cost for Thanksgiving is $64.05. The price of turkey increased 21% over the past year, likely attributed to both feed costs and avian influenza outbreaks. Of the 12 food items tracked in the survey, 11 went up in price; only cranberries decreased.
The good news for shoppers is that most of these prices were tracked and recorded in late October. Folks buying food for Thanksgiving meals this week are more likely to catch sales, especially on whole frozen turkeys.
Still, inflation is reducing consumers’ purchasing power. AFBF Chief Economist Roger Cryan says general inflation has been running 7% to 9% in recent months, while the most recent Consumer Price Index report for food consumed at home reveals a 12% increase over the past year.
“Other contributing factors to the increased cost for the meal include supply chain disruptions and the war in Ukraine,” Cryan says. “The higher retail turkey cost at the grocery store can also be attributed to a slightly smaller flock this year, increased feed costs and lighter processing weights.”
Fortunately, supply is not in question, even of whole turkeys, a sector that saw temporary regional shortages earlier this year in states affected by avian influenza.
About the Author(s)
Senior Editor, Prairie Farmer, Farm Progress
Holly Spangler has covered Illinois agriculture for more than two decades, bringing meaningful production agriculture experience to the magazine’s coverage. She currently serves as editor of Prairie Farmer magazine and Executive Editor for Farm Progress, managing editorial staff at six magazines throughout the eastern Corn Belt. She began her career with Prairie Farmer just before graduating from the University of Illinois in agricultural communications.
An award-winning writer and photographer, Holly is past president of the American Agricultural Editors Association. In 2015, she became only the 10th U.S. agricultural journalist to earn the Writer of Merit designation and is a five-time winner of the top writing award for editorial opinion in U.S. agriculture. She was named an AAEA Master Writer in 2005. In 2011, Holly was one of 10 recipients worldwide to receive the IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Ag Journalism award. She currently serves on the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation, the U of I Agricultural Communications Advisory committee, and is an advisory board member for the U of I College of ACES Research Station at Monmouth. Her work in agricultural media has been recognized by the Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Corn, Illinois Council on Agricultural Education and MidAmerica Croplife Association.
Holly and her husband, John, farm in western Illinois where they raise corn, soybeans and beef cattle on 2,500 acres. Their operation includes 125 head of commercial cows in a cow/calf operation. The family farm includes John’s parents and their three children.
Holly frequently speaks to a variety of groups and organizations, sharing the heart, soul and science of agriculture. She and her husband are active in state and local farm organizations. They serve with their local 4-H and FFA programs, their school district, and are active in their church's youth and music ministries.
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