Survey Shows Arizona Families Will Pay More For Thanksgiving Dinner, Cost Up Over 5%

As Arizonans sit down at the Thanksgiving table to dig into the traditional feast this year, the turkey dinner with all the trimmings will cost $49.62 for an Arizona family of 10, or around $4.96 per person.

This is an overall increase of $2.60 or just over 5% more than the 2020 Arizona Thanksgiving meal ($47.02). In comparison, American Farm Bureau’s market basket for a Thanksgiving dinner meal for 10 this year is $53.31, $3.69 more.

Without factoring in-store coupons or specials (priced prior to store specials), the cost of a 16-pound turkey purchased in Arizona this year was $19.40, or $1.21 per pound, which reflects an increase of $5.32 per pound compared to last year’s $14.08, or a nearly 32% increase from the 2020 turkey price. “Besides a fresh bone-in ham, the main course to our thanksgiving meal is showing the highest price increase,” says Arizona Farm Bureau Outreach Director Julie Murphree. “An encouraging note for Arizona shoppers is that as of this week the turkey is also the best item to find super deals in the grocery stores one week prior to Thanksgiving. When we price, we’re pricing prior to store specials.”

The 2021 Arizona Thanksgiving meal cost estimate is the result of the Arizona Farm Bureau’s annual informal Thanksgiving Dinner Price Survey of the prices of basic food items found on a traditional Thanksgiving dinner table. Volunteer leaders from the Arizona Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee throughout Arizona went into their local grocery stores the week of November 8 to price check the market basket items.

The Arizona Farm Bureau survey shopping list includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, milk, plus pumpkin pie with whipped cream, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty of leftovers. To make a proper comparison, these items are similar food items used in the American Farm Bureau survey for the past two decades.

“Go to Arizona Farm Bureau’s Fill Your Plate to see a category called Thanksgiving Dinner recipes in our recipe section,” adds Murphree. “Our Arizona families asked us to feature these special recipes, some from our Arizona farm and ranch families.”

“Although we will be paying more for our Thanksgiving meal this year, it’s important to remember that Arizona’s farmers and ranchers go to work every day to produce the highest quality and safest product for our Arizona families. You may be seeing a higher price in certain food groups in your local grocery store but the costs to produce those items has increased exponentially including fuel and transportation costs,” said Arizona Farm Bureau President Stefanie Smallhouse, a cattle rancher, alfalfa and specialty crop farmer from Pima County. “And because of the complexities of our food system, the average farmer is not generally getting more money for their product. Even with the increase in food costs, Arizonans will still be spending a smaller portion of their family budget on food than anywhere else in the world. We are privileged to provide the highest quality and diversity of food available to you in this season of Thanksgiving.”

Arizona farmers and ranchers produce most of the ingredients in the traditional Thanksgiving meal including dressing (bread, onions and celery), peas, pumpkin, and pecans for pies, and several others. Even roses, sometimes used for holiday centerpieces, are grown in Arizona.

“Arizona Farm Bureau is grateful to all Arizonans for supporting local farm and ranch families and we wish you a very blessed Thanksgiving,” Smallhouse concluded.

Adds Murphree, “I challenge our Arizona families to put their sophisticated shopping hats on and beat our market basket price of $49.62. Despite being in an inflationary period, by exploiting all in-store deals and coupons you should beat the Farm Bureau’s market basket.”

The average price of the remainder of the menu is listed below, also showing the comparison to last year’s market basket.

Arizona Farm Bureau comparison over last year:

2021 2020
Turkey, 16 lbs. $19.40 U $14.08
Cube Stuffing, 14 oz. $2.78  D $3.81
Pumpkin Pie Mix, 30 oz. $3.86  U $3.59
Pie Shells (2) $3.46  U $2.83
Sweet Potatoes, 3 lbs. $4.26  D $4.59
Brown & Serve Rolls, 12 $3.14  D $3.78
Frozen Green Peas, 1 lb. $1.67  D $2.12
Whole Milk, 1 gallon $2.49  D $2.65
Fresh Cranberries, 12 oz. $2.54  D $2.59
Whipping Cream, ½ pint $1.87  D $2.25
Vegetable tray, l lb. $0.70  D $1.48
*Misc. ingredients $3.45  U $3.25

*Coffee, onions, eggs, sugar, flour, evaporated milk and butter

Prices of past surveys include: 1993 – $24.99; 1994 – $26.93; 1995 – $28.68; 1996 – $30.37; 1997 – $26.14; 1998 – $27.41; 1999 – $33.82; 2000 – $34.11; 2001 – $35.05; 2002 – $34.43; 2003 – $36.28 (national figure); 2004 – $35.22; 2005 – $37.69; 2006 – $39.22; 2007 – $51.14; 2008 – $52.81; 2009 – 40.47; 2010 – 44.17; 2011 – 50.06; 2012 – 47.53; 2013 – 48.63; 2014 – 46.16; 2015 – $47.83; 2016 – $46.27, 2017 – $39.82, 2018 – $39.17, and 2019 – $42.68 2020 – $47.02

Organic prices include:   2011 – 106.39 (benchmark year); 2012 – 87.23; 2013 – 91.00; 2014 – 95.76; 2015 – $98.03; 2016 – $94.86; 2017 – $93.51. 2018 – 95.96. 2019 – (did not price for 2019). 2020 – 96.49 (Did not price for 2021)

The Farm Bureau Thanksgiving Dinner Price Survey is unscientific but serves as an indicator of actual price trends across the state. This survey is based on shelf price and does not reflect special prices and promotional gimmicks.

Shoppers involved in this year’s survey were asked to identify the best in-store price, excluding promotional coupons and special deals. Farm Bureau’s survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.

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