Will you be cooking an entire sit down Thanksgiving dinner for extended family this year?
The Association of American Turkey Farmers says that many families are opting for smaller get-togethers this year due to COVID-19 concerns. Accordingly, “The number of people who plan to host a big Thanksgiving gathering has dropped to 26% this year, down from 30% during a typical year.”
So, look for average turkey sizes to trend smaller. Most turkeys sold in the past were in the 16 to 24 pound range. But this year, the average turkey will be more like 12 to 15 pounds.
Because of shoppers’ changing appetite for the size of gatherings, many retailers will sell a wider range of turkey products (such as boneless turkey breasts instead of whole turkeys) in advance of Thanksgiving this year. Most retailers will still have plenty of whole birds in stock, but will also offer more hams and other meats, like roast beef.
Average price for a full Thanksgiving dinner: According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the average cost to feed a family of eight to ten a basic Thanksgiving meal is just under $48.91 this year. For comparison, last year the cost was just under $50, so largely unchanged.
What will you pay for a turkey in 2020? The larger the bird, in general, the less per pound you will pay. Frozen turkeys are always less per pound than fresh turkeys. And organic, farm-raised turkeys, while certainly healthier, are easily twice as pricey.
Last year, the average cost of a typical frozen 16-pound turkey was just under $26.00. This year, it’s a little cheaper at $20.80.
That said, the costs for Thanksgiving fixings such as side dishes and desserts will cost a little more. Sweet potatoes, for example, are up 11% over last year. Fresh pumpkins are up 18% since 2019, and butter, milk and cream prices are up 9% over last year.
As you might expect, fewer families are eating their Thanksgiving dinners indoors at restaurants this year, too. Thanksgiving reservations at restaurants are down a whopping 35%. The CDC still recommends against eating at indoor restaurants. When you add friends and family traveling from other parts of the country and sitting together in close proximity — the risk of COVID-spread gets higher still. That said, order ahead and carry-out Thanksgiving meals are surging upward.
So, however you enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday — surrounded by friends, small family or extended family – stay safe.