PA Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Soaring in 2022: Details

PENNSYLVANIA — The price of a Thanksgiving dinner is skyrocketing this year, along with just about everything else.

A classic Thanksgiving dinner for 10 is up 20 percent nationally, according to the Farm Bureau’s 37th annual survey, which examined affordable prices for a number of basic Thanksgiving meal items.

In 2022, the survey found that dinner will cost Pennsylvania residents about $64.02. Nationally, the average dinner cost this year totaled $64.05, a $10.74 increase from last year’s average cost of $53.31.

Of course, these prices are tiny compared to what many Pennsylvania residents and much of the country will actually be spending this year. For example, the Farm Bureau lists the average price of a 16-pound turkey as $28.96. However, at Wegmans grocery stores in Malvern and King of Prussia, that price is $29.24 for a 17-pound turkey.

The cost increases are due in large part to the price of Thanksgiving turkey, which is about $1.81 a pound, up 21 percent year-on-year. At that price, a 16 pound bird costs about $28.96.

In Pennsylvania, stores like Walmart, Aldi, Lidl, BJ’s Wholesale Club, and ShopRite are among a handful of retailers offering Thanksgiving price cuts and other special offers.

According to the latest data from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, the average price per pound for whole frozen turkeys was $1.11 for the week of November 3-9 and 95 cents for the week of November 10-16, which a drop of 14 percent corresponds to just one week; and the proportion of stores offering special prices increased from 29 percent to 60 percent.

The higher turkey prices are also due to the highly contagious and fatal bird flu outbreak, first reported in a commercial turkey herd in Indiana, which is the worst the nation has seen since 2015. Aside from devastating population numbers, this is also driving already bloated inflation, making prices of eggs and chickens even higher.

Millions of birds in Pennsylvania have been killed by the disease.

RELATED: PA Avian Flu: Officials Address Food Safety as Virus Rampages

Even if Pennsylvania buyers find a cheaper bird, they’re likely paying higher prices for the rest of the meal. Headline inflation slowed to 7.7 percent in October, but food prices are still about 12 percent higher than this time last year, according to the latest CPI report.

In addition to the turkey, the Farm Bureau looked at the cost of stuffing, sweet potatoes, a buttered bun, peas, cranberries, a vegetable tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk, all in amounts enough to feed a family of 10, which is plenty for leftovers.

According to the Farm Bureau’s year-over-year comparison of Thanksgiving dinners, Pennsylvania residents can expect to pay about $1.59 more for diced filling but 41 cents less for fresh cranberries.

Aside from the cranberries, every other grocery item on the Farm Bureau’s list went up pennies to nearly a dollar. Here’s the breakdown of prices nationwide:

  • 16-pound turkey: $28.96 or $1.81 per pound (up 21 percent)
  • 14-ounce bag of diced filling mix: $3.88 (up 69 percent)
  • 2 frozen pie crusts: $3.68 (up 26 percent)
  • Half a pint of whipped cream: $2.24 (up 26 percent)
  • 1 pound frozen peas: $1.90 (up 23 percent)
  • 1 dozen buns: $3.73 (up 22 percent)
  • Other meal preparation ingredients: $4.13 (up 20 percent)
  • 30-ounce can pumpkin pie mix: $4.28 (up 18 percent)
  • 1 gallon whole milk: $3.84 (up 16 percent)
  • 3 pounds of sweet potatoes: $3.96 (up 11 percent)
  • 1-pound vegetable peel (carrots and celery): 88 cents (up 8 percent)
  • 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries: $2.57 (down 14 percent)

The Farm Bureau’s national median cost was calculated using 224 surveys completed using price data from all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The volunteer shoppers checked prices in person and online using grocery store apps and websites, looking for the best possible prices without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or shopping offers.

The American Farm Bureau’s Thanksgiving Dinner Survey was first conducted in 1986. The menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.