If you’re hosting Thanksgiving in Kansas, rejoice: There’s no cheaper place to buy a turkey and side dishes in 2022.
A new Thanksgiving dashboard put together by Purdue University researchers makes Kansas the cheapest state in the Union to source ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner this year. A spread for 12 people costs an average of $70.89 in Sunflower State.
According to Purdue’s Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability, inflation has raised the average cost of a Thanksgiving meal for 12 people nationwide to $80.06.
The researchers estimated prices by visiting online supermarkets across the country. The national average assumes that a holiday meal includes, among other things, a 16-pound turkey for $33.31, five pounds of potatoes for $9.93, two pounds of green beans for $7.38, and a gallon of milk for $4.54. The tab doesn’t include wine bottles or more fancy side dishes.
The remote states of Hawaii and Alaska have the highest average price for turkey and side dishes at $97.07 and $87.57, respectively, at $12. The balance of the top 10: South Dakota ($86.06), Nebraska ($85.43), California ($84.57), Oregon ($83.89), Colorado ($83.82), Nevada ($83.61), New York ($83.45), and Maryland ($83.33).
“It’s shipping,” said the manager of New Sagaya City Market in Anchorage, Alaska, who gave his name Mike B. “We ship everything by barge. And fuel costs have risen, of course, so shipping costs have risen.”
The cheapest states for Thanksgiving dinner are primarily southern states. A meal for 12 people costs less than $75 on average in Kansas, Georgia, Alabama, Missouri, Florida, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Arkansas, Mississippi, and Montana round out the bottom 10.
Organic ingredients raise the cost of the meal to a national average of $98.89. Vegetarian options lower it to $64, using tofu for the turkey.
The new dashboard provides an alternative to the American Farm Bureau Federation, which tabulates Thanksgiving costs for 37 years. Using slightly different methods and calculations, the Farm Bureau reported that a slightly reduced Thanksgiving meal for 10 people will cost $64.05 this year, up from $53.31 in 2021.
Prices in Turkey are up to 20 percent higher this year, said Jayson Lusk, a Purdue economist who manages the Thanksgiving dashboard.
“Why are prices higher this year? ” he writes in his blog. “One possible answer is bird flu (also known as “bird flu”).” According to federal figures, the disease has fallen nearly 8 million turkeys this year.
Is this the most expensive Thanksgiving ever? The quick answer: No. Prices continue to rise, but adjusted for inflation, Thanksgiving dinner cost more in 1980 or 1990 than it does today.
Consumption in Turkey has declined and has fallen by around 1 pound per capita (from 16.5 pounds to 15.3 pounds) since 2017, reports Lusk. The demand for the meat appears to be falling, possibly due to the pandemic or perhaps due to changing tastes.
“This downward shift in demand combined with higher prices likely means there will be fewer turkeys on the Thanksgiving table this year,” writes Lusk.