Cost of Average Thanksgiving Meal in Louisiana Cheaper This Year

by Neil Melancon & Avery Davidson, Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation

If there’s one meal in the U.S. above all others, it has to be the Thanksgiving feast—from the traditional turkey and trimmings, to Louisiana favorites like boudin and gumbo.

This year will be even more special as the meal will be cheaper than previous years, all because of the hard work and dedication of Louisiana’s farmers and ranchers.  The Louisiana Farm Bureau, in conjunction with the American Farm Bureau, conducted a marketbasket survey of 12 items commonly used in Thanksgiving meals.  The total average cost in Louisiana is $49.79, $.08 cheaper than the national average of $49.87.

The drop in price coincides with falling commodity prices, thanks in no small part to the industriousness of farmers.  A USDA supply and demand report in November showed corn yields at more than 175 bushels per acre nationwide, far above trade expectations and a new record for production.  This will create a surplus that has not only contributed to the cheaper holiday meal, but will likely keep prices lower at the grocery store for the foreseeable future.  

Denise Canatella, chair of the Louisiana Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee and organized grocery store surveys across the state, said some of the prices surprised her, but encouraged shoppers to look for even better bargains.

“We haven’t seen prices like this in years,” Canatella said.  “As it gets closer to Thanksgiving, though, be on the lookout for deals at the grocery store near you.  Many retailers offer incredible savings on top of this year’s lower prices.”

Of the 12 items surveyed nationally, 5 were cheaper than a year ago and 7 were more expensive.  The price drop in those five items were significant enough to drop the overall total year over year.

In Louisiana, shoppers can expect to pay less than the national average for their sweet potatoes, stuffing, pumpkin pie mix and pie shells. However, those same consumers will pay more for the turkey, milk, rolls, whipping cream and a veggie tray.  While the holiday meal price decrease is good news for shoppers, Louisiana agriculture is seeing drastically low prices for its commodities after a year where weather disasters took a toll on the state’s crops, according to Louisiana Farm Bureau President Ronnie Anderson.

“While our farmers and ranchers are committed to providing the public with the safest and most affordable food supply in the world, we need to be able to make a living in order to do it,” Anderson said.  “Something worse than cheap food is unsafe food shipped in from overseas.  Part of our national strength is based in agriculture, so this Thanksgiving, I hope everyone thanks a farmer for the work that they do and pray we get some relief on prices soon.

Of the $49.79 holiday meal, the farmer’s share is $8.66.

The Louisiana Farm Bureau is the state’s largest general farm and ranch organization dedicated to helping agriculture grow.  The items surveyed in Louisiana were also used in the American Farm Bureau survey results