SAN ANTONIO — The Farm Bureau says you will be paying 20% or $11 more this Thanksgiving for a classic meal. A family feast for 10 people with 12 dishes will cost $64.05 this year.
That is one of the largest year-over-year increases in the 37 years the study has been done.
“These higher prices may make some things a little more challenging for some folks,” said Roger Cryan, the chief economist for the Farm Bureau. “I would point out one way to deal with these higher prices is to look for bargains and a little more effort. You can go find stuff.”
The shopping list includes:
- 16-pound turkey: $28.96 or $1.181/lb (up 21%)
- 14 oz bag of cubed stuffing mix: $3.88 (up 69%)
- 2 frozen pie crusts: $3.68 (up 26%)
- Half pint of whipping cream: $2.24 (up 26%)
- 1 pound of frozen peas: $1.90 (up 23%)
- 1 dozen dinner rolls: $3.73 (up 22%)
- Miscellaneous ingredients to prepare the meal: $4.13 (up 20%)
- 30-oz can of pumpkin pie mix: $4.28 (up 18%)
- 1 gallon of whole milk: $384 (up 16%)
- 3 pounds of sweet potatoes: $3.96 (up 11%)
- 1 pound veggie try (carrots and celery): $.88 (up 8%)
- 12 oz bag of fresh cranberries: $2.57 (down 14%)
Pretty pricey is the turkey --- you will pay 21% more for it. The good news is turkey prices are dropping the closer we get to Thanksgiving.
“The number of stores that are featuring turkeys in their circulars at discounted prices has risen,” said Cryan. “Those discounts will probably grow.”
Do not wait until the last minute to get a big bird. Larger turkeys could be harder to find this year. If you're looking to save a little extra, grab a smaller bird.
“Given the price increases, a lot of families may be looking to buy a smaller bird to manage the budget for this meal.”
Buy a large turkey when you find one. Whatever size you choose, leave enough time for this tip...
“If you’re buying a frozen bird make sure you buy that early enough that you can thaw it in time for dinner,” said Cryan. “We went a safe and healthy Thanksgiving meal for everybody this year.”
The better bargain is to cook at home. Sure, you will pay more overall for the dinner this year, but $64.05 for 10 people is $6.40 per person.
Walmart is offering Thanksgiving essentials for 2021 prices, removing inflation for customers. A shopping cart of the same 12 ingredients on the Farm Bureau list rang in at about $40, which is around $4 a person.
It can cost you almost double to order a premade meal. Bill Miller’s Small Party Pack feeds the same number of people, 10, for $116.50. That breaks down to $11.65 a person. It includes 3-5 pounds of sliced, hot turkey breast, 2 quarts cornbread dressing, 1 quart giblet gravy, 2 quarts green beans or 2 quarts mashed potatoes, 1 dozen dinner rolls, 1 fresh baked 9" pie, 1 bucket iced tea, plates, cups and set ups for 10. Plus, you will not have to do the cooking or the cleanup.
HEB offers a meal for 8 for $130 if you clip the $20 off coupon in the app. That comes out to $16.25 per person. It includes an HEB Natural fully cooked oven-roasted whole turkey (10-14 lbs), 2 20 oz cornbread stuffing, 2 24 oz Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, 2 21oz green bean casserole, 2 24 oz sweet potato casserole, 2 16 oz turkey gravy, and a 16 oz cranberry sauce.
The cost of the meal can vary depending on the sides you choose, so comparison shop if you are buying ingredients to cook at home this Thanksgiving. There will be a lot of sales going on in the next week, or maybe consider some different side this year. And as always, do not forget to use a store loyalty program to find coupons and sales.
One place more San Antonio families are turning as food prices spike is the San Antonio Food Bank. The demand for a holiday meal is so high this year, the food bank still needs 5,000 turkeys to meet the need for Thanksgiving.
“Families leave the grocery store with less food in their grocery cart,” said Eric Cooper, the President and CEO of the food bank. “To make up the difference, they’re coming here to the food bank. Now is the holidays and those traditional seasonal items like a turkey and sides, families want to provide, but it’s just out of reach.”
Some families have told him they are not planning on celebrating because they cannot afford the meal.
“The dinner table is such a convener when you have the ingredients that actually bring you to the table, but when you don’t have those ingredients to nourish yourself and your family, the dinner table loses its power, loses its purpose,” said Cooper.
“It’s through the generosity of the community that allows us to be able to have the turkey,” Cooper said. “I know the families are just grateful to receive anything and for those that don’t get a turkey, they will be appreciative of whatever they can get.”
He said every turkey that comes in will be given out, which could cause a shortage for another important holiday meal.
“We usually have some turkeys we can hold over for Christmas,” Cooper said. “But we’ve made the decision just to try to make sure we get the turkeys out prior to Thanksgiving so they can be experienced. It’s going to put us behind when it comes to Christmas.”
All households that request a Thanksgiving meal will receive something, but the main meat might be something other than the traditional turkey.