Thanksgiving meal prices jumped up across the country this year, but even more so in Colorado according to an analysis by the Colorado Farm Bureau.
The American Farm Bureau Federation found in an informal survey that the national average cost of a Thanksgiving meal for ten guests jumped 20% from last year to $64.05. Colorado shoppers are expected to pay 4.8% more than the national average, putting the cost at $67.14 or $6.71 a person.
To get the data, Colorado Farm Bureau members participated as volunteer shoppers for the survey at nine locations across the state. They bought a classic menu, including turkey, stuffing, pie crusts, whipping cream, vegetables, dinner rolls, pumpkin pie and more, that has remained unchanged since 1986 when the survey began.
“This is the largest increase we’ve seen in the 37-year history of the survey,” Colorado Farm Bureau President Carlyle Currier said in a release. “The increases will certainly impact some family budgets, but at $6.71 per person, the meal is still a great value compared to other options.”
According to the survey, the most significant year-over-year costs came from more processed foods, with boxed stuffing up an average of 69% and whipped cream and frozen pie crusts up 26%.
“We can see the impact of underlying inflation, rising transportation, packaging and marketing costs and continued supply chain disruptions,” Currier said. “Because of our location in the country relative to food processing and supply, the additional increase in Colorado is most likely due to increased transportation costs.”
Turkeys represent 45% of the total cost of the meal and are up 21% from last year at $29.78 for a 16-pound turkey.
Along with inflation, national turkey production has contracted five percent — the largest drop since 2009 according to CoBank. Frozen turkey stocks are down 19% from the 2018-2021 average, the bureau said.
The avian influenza, which saw a major outbreak across the U.S. this year, has not helped with prices and availability of the traditional Thanksgiving centerpiece. The survey also noted that the shoppers checked prices between Oct. 18-31, before grocery stores began marking down turkeys.
The national average cost was calculated using 224 surveys with pricing data from all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Volunteer shoppers checked prices in person and online, looking for the best possible prices without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals.
Regionally, the most affordable price for a classic Thanksgiving meal was in the South for $58.42 while the West had the highest regional price at $71.37.