Thanksgiving dinner 2022: Turkey costs projected to rise 23%


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The cost for the annual Thanksgiving feast is expected to surge so much that economists are beginning to question whether it is a better economic choice to eat out. 

According to a recent Wells Fargo report, "Is This the Year to Dine Out for Thanksgiving?," the cost of staples from poultry to fruits will outpace the total food at home and food away from home categories on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Turkey prices alone are projected to rise as high as 23% compared to the fourth quarter last year, according to Wells Fargo analysts and authors of the report, Courtney Schmidt and Brad Rubin. 


Cooked turkey in roasting pan with meat thermometer during the preparation of a traditional American Thanksgiving holiday meal, San Ramon, California, Nov. 23, 2019. (Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images / Getty Images)

They also cautioned that turkey supplies will be "more limited" due to continuing impacts of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. 

"Turkey prices jumped after the bird flu wiped out livestock earlier this year. While inventory has rebounded, the cost per pound will be higher," the authors noted. 

Meanwhile, eggs, which have also been impacted by the bird flu, have already risen 35.5% while butter and flour have risen 25.8% and 17.1%, respectively, according to the analysts, which used the August CPI data to show the increase in cost since November 2021. 


So far, fruits and vegetables have had the lowest cost increase, with prices rising 7.3%. 

Rubin told FOX Business that consumers are also going to see a difference in popular side dishes, such as potatoes and cranberry sauce, due to weather issues and a rise in input costs this year. 

For instance, the cooler spring in Idaho and Washington had delayed crops of potatoes and onions while the hotter temperatures in California coupled with the drought "shrunk the yield of celery, carrot, and onion crops," according to the report. 

Meanwhile, "cranberry sauce, a staple of the holiday meal, will cost more on grocery store shelves due to cranberry producers that faced rising input costs," the report continued. 

Unidentified diners serve themselves food at a traditional Thanksgiving Day family gathering in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan on Nov. 26, 2015. (Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images / Getty Images)

Americans can find some relief in prices, though, if they seek out alternatives such as sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes for instance "have a surplus at the moment and are more readily available," Rubin told FOX Business. 

"Consumers can find better pricing on that commodity than on white potatoes, which are on a short crop and prices will be higher based on supply and demand principles," he added. 

Still, the cost of groceries are rising so much that smaller families might want to consider eating out, according to Rubin. 


"According to Consumer Price index cost of eating out has increased slower than at home, so while eating out is considered a luxury it is a great value this year," Rubin added. 

For a family of four, the cost could be similar and eating out would be the most economically beneficial this year, according to Rubin. 

However, for a bigger family gathering, it will be more economical to eat at home, he noted.  

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