WINCHESTER — The average price for a Thanksgiving Day meal this year in Virginia is $63.56, according to the Virginia Farm Bureau.

For a 10-person meal, that comes out to $6.37 per person. This year’s statewide average represents an increase of $3.33, or 5.52%, from the 2020 average price of $60.33 for a 10-person meal.

After utilizing a survey of common grocery items likely to be found on Thanksgiving tables this year, the Virginia Farm Bureau constructed a menu of turkey, ham, stuffing, sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, rolls, carrots, celery, cranberries, green beans, peas, milk and pumpkin pie with whipped cream. Prices were reported by volunteer shoppers around Virginia using no promotional sales or coupons.

Shoppers checked prices online and in person at 33 grocery stores. According to the results, the average cost of a 16-pound turkey was $25.17, or about $1.57 per pound. The 2020 average was $1.40 per pound.

The average price for a 4-pound bone-in ham was $8.47; a gallon of whole milk, $3.22; frozen peas, $1.22; frozen green beans, $1.24; three pounds of sweet potatoes, $2.80; a 5-pound bag of russet potatoes, $3.45; fresh celery, $1.56; fresh carrots, 89 cents; two pie shells, $2.36; whipping cream, $1.63; canned pumpkin pie filling, $3.44; fresh cranberries, $2.30; stuffing mix, $2.75; and a dozen dinner rolls, $3.17.

Food prices are up across the country due to supply chain disruptions owed in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While supply chain and workforce issues are plaguing all sectors of the economy, traditional Thanksgiving dinner ingredients are still readily available at grocery stores across Virginia,” said Elijah Griles, a Virginia Farm Bureau commodity specialist. “Our farmers work hard to put food on Virginians’ tables, and despite the global pandemic and the challenges it has presented them, they have persevered. We are thankful for their work and the abundance they provide us during the Thanksgiving season.”

Jon Henry, who owns The Jon Henry General Store in New Market, said customers can likely find cheaper prices if they buy in bulk.

For example, Henry is selling a 50-pound bag of potatoes for $15. That’s about 30 cents a pound, which is about 50 cents cheaper than chain grocery stores.

“Some things had to go up, but if people are willing to buy in bulk, we’ve found we’re able to move those items at a lower rate,” he said. “The labor shortage and packaging shortage has made it harder to put things into little baggies, so it’s easier from that standpoint, too.”

While ham and turkey prices were higher this year, cranberries, sweet potatoes, carrots and frozen peas and beans were less expensive overall, according to the Virginia Farm Bureau data.

Griles said that is “largely a result of limited processing capacity due to worker shortages, a lack of trucks and a reduction in cold storage stocks as many consumers have demanded smaller birds and purchased turkeys earlier than before.”

Nationally, an American Farm Bureau Federation informal survey found the average cost of a “classic” Thanksgiving meal for 10 was $53.31, a 14% increase from $46.90 in 2020. This price does not include ham, russet potatoes and green beans. Virginia’s average price of a Thanksgiving meal without those three items is $50.50, Virginia Farm Bureau data showed.

With ham, potatoes and beans added to the American Farm Bureau Federation tally, the average cost of a Thanksgiving meal is $68.72 — a 14% increase from $60.11 in 2020.

The main factor contributing to the significant rise in the overall price was a 24% increase in the average retail price for turkeys, noted Roger Cryan, chief economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation. He cited inflation and supply chain issues as the main factors behind more expensive turkeys.

This is the 18th year the Virginia Farm Bureau has conducted the survey, which is based on an annual survey organized by the American Farm Bureau Federation.

— Contact Matt Welch at mwelch@winchesterstar.com

(1) comment

Mr Incredible

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