If you’re hosting Thanksgiving in Kansas, rejoice: There’s nowhere cheaper to buy a turkey and trimmings in 2022.
A new one Thanksgiving meal dashboard compiled by researchers at Purdue University finds Kansas the most affordable state in the union to source ingredients for a Thanksgiving meal this year. A 12-person spread costs an average of $70.89 in the Sunflower State.
Inflation has pushed the average cost of a 12-person Thanksgiving meal nationwide to $80.06, according to Purdue’s Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability.
Researchers estimated prices by visiting online supermarkets across the country. The national average assumes a holiday meal would include a 16-pound turkey at $33.31; five pounds of potatoes for $9.93; two pounds of green beans for $7.38; and a gallon of milk at $4.54, among other expenses. The tab does not include bottles of wine or more extravagant sides.
The outlying states of Hawaii and Alaska rank highest in average turkey and trimmings price for 12, at $97.07 and $87.57, respectively. The rest 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 New Sagaya City Market in Anchorage, Alaska, who gave his name as Mike B. “We ship everything up by barge. And fuel costs are going up, of course, so shipping costs have gone up.”
The most affordable states for Thanksgiving dining are mostly southern. A meal for 12 costs an average of less than $75 in Kansas, Georgia, Alabama, Missouri, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee. Arkansas, Mississippi and Montana round out the bottom 10.
Organic ingredients push the meal price to a national average of $98.89. Vegetarian options drop it to $64, with tofu subbing for turkey.
The new dashboard provides an alternative to the American Farm Bureau Federation, which has compiled Thanksgiving costs for 37 years. Using slightly different methods and math, the Farm Bureau reported that a slightly reduced Thanksgiving meal on the 10th will cost $64.05 this yearup from $53.31 in 2021.
Turkey prices are running as much as 20 percent higher this year, said Jayson Lusk, a Purdue economist who maintains the Thanksgiving dashboard.
“Why are prices higher this year?” he writes on his blog. “One potential answer is bird flu (aka ‘bird flu’).” According to federal data, the disease has killed nearly 8 million turkeys this year.
Is this the most expensive Thanksgiving ever? The quick answer: No. Prices keep rising, but after adjusting for inflation, Thanksgiving dinner cost more in 1980 or 1990 than it does now.
Turkey’s consumption has fallen, down about 1 pound per per capita (from 16.5 pounds to 15.3 pounds) since 2017, Lusk reports. Demand for the meat appears to be falling, possibly due to the pandemic, or perhaps as a matter of changing tastes.
“This downward shift in demand, combined with higher prices, likely means fewer turkeys on the Thanksgiving table this year,” Lusk writes.