Acton Institute Powerblog

This Thanksgiving, be thankful for the low cost of food

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Your Thanksgiving dinner this year may cost less than a meal at your local fast food restaurant.

According to an informal price survey conducted by the American Farm Bureau Federation(AFBF), the average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving meal for ten people is $49.12—less than $5 per person.

“For the second consecutive year, the overall cost of Thanksgiving dinner has declined,” says AFBF Director of Market Intelligence John Newton. “The cost of the dinner is the lowest since 2013 and second-lowest since 2011. Even as America’s family farmers and ranchers continue to face economic challenges, they remain committed to providing a safe, abundant and affordable food supply for consumers at Thanksgiving and throughout the year.”

The AFBF survey shopping list includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk—all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty for leftovers.

That same meal a century ago would have been much more expensive. According to Business Insider, when adjusted for inflation the same meal for ten would have cost $167.77. One reason is that turkeys are considerably cheaper. A 16-pounder in 1911 prices would cost roughly $110 today (the AFBF says the average turkey today costs $22.38).

So when you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, be sure to include prayer of thank that you don’t have to spend as much of our income on food as your ancestors.

Joe Carter

Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).