Iowans preparing to shop for their annual family Thanksgiving dinner can feel good knowing the cost of feeding a family of 10 is steady and virtually unchanged from a year ago, according to the annual American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Thanksgiving Dinner Price Survey.  The average cost for the annual fest comes in this year at $49.41, or less than $5 per serving.  Despite rising food costs for some items at the grocery store, the average Thanksgiving dinner has been stable and affordable since 2011, averaging around $49 for a family of 10, and that’s great news for Iowans shopping on a budget.

“The cost of a classic Thanksgiving meal again works out to be less than $5 per serving, providing an incredible value for families,” said Dave Miller, director of research and commodity services for the Iowa Farm Bureau.  “To be able to provide a special holiday meal for your family for less than a cost of a fast food meal is remarkable.”

A handful of dairy items were included in the AFBF study, which represents a growing sector of Iowa agriculture.  “As demand for American dairy products continues to grow both domestically and internationally, we are seeing an increase in dairy production,” Miller said.  “In Iowa, milk production is up four percent from last year, and during that time, we have seen dairy cow herds grow by around 1,000 head.”

Sweet potatoes, dairy products and miscellaneous ingredients necessary to prepare the meal represented items with slightly increased price tags this year, although given decreases in other products, the overall meal price remained stable.  Turkey, the staple of the Thanksgiving meal, saw retail prices decline slightly, with a whole bird averaging $21.65, or $1.35 per pound.  The survey shopping list includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of celery and carrots, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and beverages of coffee and milk, in quantities sufficient to feed 10 people.

This year’s Thanksgiving survey was the 29th annual study conducted by AFBF.  Every region of the country was represented in the annual AFBF Thanksgiving Price Shopping Survey, with 179 volunteer shoppers in 35 states participating.