Thanksgiving Food Prices Increase Slightly in Indiana

As Hoosiers prepare for Thanksgiving, many families are reconsidering their traditional holiday plans in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. With travel restrictions in place in several parts of the country and gathering size recommendations to consider, many will opt for smaller or even virtual gatherings this year.

No matter the size of the celebration, many Hoosiers still plan to prepare a traditional Thanksgiving meal with turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce. In preparation, Indiana Farm Bureau surveyed shoppers across the state to identify the average price of these traditional Thanksgiving meal items.

“There’s no doubt that for many Hoosiers, Thanksgiving will look a little different this year,” said Isabella Chism, INFB 2nd vice president and chair of the Women’s Leadership Committee. “Many families won’t be able to gather together for a large celebration, but we all need something to look forward to this year and there are few things as comforting as a turkey dinner on Thanksgiving!”

INFB’s annual Thanksgiving market basket survey shows that Hoosier shoppers who opt for the traditional Thanksgiving meal this year can expect to spend approximately 12% more at the grocery store than in 2019. According to this year’s pricing survey, the individual meal price this year is approximately $4.80. Despite the 12% increase from 2019, this year’s meal price is less than 1% more than what shoppers paid in 2018.

The total market basket price of $47.81 includes a 16-pound turkey, ingredients for stuffing and a pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes, rolls, peas, a carrot and celery veggie tray, whole milk, cranberries, whipping cream and miscellaneous baking items such as eggs, sugar and butter. However, according to the National Turkey Federation, there is an increased interest in smaller turkeys this year, or even turkey breast, due to an increase in smaller gatherings.

This year, shoppers can expect to pay approximately $1.34 per pound for a whole turkey, or $21.44 for a 16-pound bird. Other traditional Thanksgiving items that Hoosier shoppers can expect to be a bit more expensive this year include boxed stuffing, pumpkin pie filling, rolls, whole milk and whipping cream. Items that may be more affordable this year include sweet potatoes, peas, relish tray and cranberries. All other items remain relatively unchanged.

While Indiana is a major turkey-producing state, most of the turkey produced in Indiana becomes deli meat or ground turkey.

“Our turkey farmers have been working hard through the pandemic to deliver turkey to our grocery stores,” said Chism. “Whether you purchase a whole turkey this year or even ground turkey or deli meat, you’ll be supporting our turkey producers during an important time of the year for them.”

Some Hoosiers may omit the turkey this year and opt for a ham instead. INFB also collected prices for other frequently served Thanksgiving items and found that consumers can expect to pay $10.60 for a 4-pound ham, compared to $9.70 in 2019.

Indiana’s survey is completed in conjunction with a national survey administered by the American Farm Bureau Federation. AFBF found that the national per person average for this year’s Thanksgiving meal is $4.70 which is only 10 cents less than Indiana’s average per person meal price this year. Nationally, a total of 230 volunteer shoppers in all 50 states participated this year.

The INFB Thanksgiving market basket survey was conducted by volunteer shoppers across the state who collected prices on specific food items from one of their local grocery stores. Volunteer shoppers are asked to look for the best possible prices, without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals.

Expecting an increase in individuals preparing a Thanksgiving meal for the first time this year, the National Turkey Federation prepared a Thanksgiving 101 guide which includes best practices for preparing a whole bird or smaller turkey breast and more. The guide also includes tips for how to maintain safe practices this Thanksgiving, including a guide for virtual festivities.