Hoosiers will find some relief when it comes to purchasing ingredients for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner this year.
Indiana Farm Bureau’s annual Thanksgiving market basket survey shows that Hoosier shoppers can expect to spend approximately 10% less at the grocery store than in 2022.
According to this year’s pricing survey, Hoosiers are paying an average of $54.64 for a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people, or $5.46 per person. Indiana’s market basket price also is approximately 11% lower, 66 cents less, than the U.S. average price of $6.12 per person.
According to INFB Chief Economist Todd Davis, the main driver of the decrease is the lower cost of the turkey. This year, shoppers can expect to pay approximately $1.38 per pound for a whole turkey, or $22.11 for a 16-pound bird, which is a decrease of about 21% from 2022. This is largely due to the dramatic reduction in avian influenza cases and a recovery of the turkey population in the United States, specifically the Midwest, which produces the most turkeys.
“The Midwest region had the least expensive market basket at an average price of $58.66,” Davis said. “Three out of the five top turkey-producing states are located in the Midwest, with Indiana ranking fourth. The concentration of turkey production in this region provides lower processing and marketing costs, which gets the turkey from the farm to the hands of the consumer efficiently.”
Even though there has been a decrease in the cost of a Thanksgiving meal since last year, Hoosiers are paying 28% more than they were four years ago, which mirrors the U.S. average cost. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states the food-at-home consumer price index from January through October 2023, a measure of price changes at the grocery store, increased 4.9% year-over-year. For perspective, food-at home annual costs for 2022 increased 11.4%.
“Even though the rate of inflation is not as extreme as last year, the cumulative effect of food inflation is still very much present,” Davis said. “This includes the collective impact of labor, fuel, packaging and transportation costs, all of which are costs beyond the farm gate.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, just 14 cents of every retail food dollar can be attributed to farm production, after accounting for input costs. Using this figure, the farmer’s share of this $54.64 market basket would be less than $8. The rest is for food processing, packaging, transportation, wholesale and retail distribution, and food service preparation.
Additionally, droughts over the last few years have affected crops’ ability to grow, which drives up prices, in addition to high supply costs.
“It’s been a difficult few years for farmers in terms of high input costs and getting what we need to produce food, fuel and fiber for the world,” said Isabella Chism, INFB second vice president. “And the amount farmers are being paid hasn’t covered the increase of their input expenses.
“But Hoosier farmers continue to find ways to streamline their operations and decrease costs of production, and we are glad to see that this Thanksgiving will be a bit more affordable for consumers compared to last year.”
The total market basket price of $54.64 includes a 16-pound turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls, peas, a carrot and celery veggie tray, whole milk, cranberries, whipping cream, ingredients for pumpkin pie and miscellaneous baking items.
Over half of the items in the market basket are less expensive for Hoosiers than last year, most notably the turkey, whipping cream and cranberries. There were some items that increased in price. The largest percentage price increase was for pumpkin pie filling mix and frozen peas.
Only pumpkin pie filling, sweet potatoes, a veggie tray and cranberries are more expensive in Indiana this year than they are nationally. All other items on the shopping list came in equal to or less than the national average, most notably the turkey, whole milk and pie shells.