NY FARM BUREAU MARKET BASKET SURVEY
Written by Alex Feig on November 21, 2019
The 2019 Market Basket Survey reveals a 15% price decrease for the classic Thanksgiving Day dinner compared to the price of last year’s meal. The average total price this year, which includes a 16-pound turkey, is $48.73. This is down over last year’s survey of $57.57, much of that attributed to a reduction in retail turkey prices.
Turkey prices are about $1.27 per pound in New York State, down about 31% on average in this informal survey compared to 2018. Prices found by volunteer shoppers ranged from $.37/lb. to $2.49/lb. This price is comparable to the national average of $1.30 per pound. As we move closer to Thanksgiving, turkey prices may continue to drop in the stores, reflecting sales in the final days before the holiday.
The New York numbers did show modest price increase in several categories including for a gallon of whole milk, Libby’s Pumpkin Pie Mix, and for many of the vegetables on the list.
This year’s survey also includes comparable numbers for an expanded menu that includes a four-pound ham, five-pound bag of russet potatoes and a package of frozen green beans. New York Farm Bureau included those in the survey for the first-time last year, reflecting more diversity in traditional Thanksgiving meals. When those prices are included, the total meal price jumps to $62.26.
The survey reveals that the classic meal remains affordable with a price point of under five dollars per person for a 10-person meal. The affordability demonstrates that although farmers and ranchers are dealing with a variety of issues, consumers still benefit from lower retail prices, in part because the actual cost of the food – the portion paid to farmers – is only eight cents of each dollar consumers spend on food at the store.
“It is good news for consumers that this year’s dinner is more affordable than last Thanksgiving. Farmers have faced a difficult year with low commodity prices, weather challenges and trade disruptions, but because of their tenacity and hard work, Americans can still enjoy a nutritious dinner on their tables. This season, we should all give thanks to the farm families and their employees in New York who make it possible to feed ourselves,” said Phyllis Couture, Chair of New York Farm Bureau’s Promotion and Education Committee.
This survey is one of the responsibilities of the NYFB State Promotion and Education Committee which also participates in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Quarterly Market Basket Survey. AFBF’s 34th annual informal national price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average national cost of this year’s feast is $48.91, slightly more than New York’s number. The national price for the expanded menu is $62.32. More information on the national survey can be found at www.fb.org.
New York Farm Bureau’s volunteer shoppers sampled prices at 31 different supermarkets throughout the state trying to get the best prices available, but they did not use promotional coupons or special deals such as “buy one-get one free.” The shopping list includes 15 common Thanksgiving food items ranging from turkey and rolls to stuffing and celery to pumpkin pie mix, enough to feed 10 people around the dinner table. An average for miscellaneous ingredients, like flour and butter, is also included. The 2019 Thanksgiving survey displayed considerable price variation across the state as well as within the regions surveyed. No area had the highest or lowest in every category. The best advice for shoppers is to compare prices to save money. The numbers below reflect the overall average of the volunteer shoppers, and this is not meant to be a true scientific survey, but rather a snapshot of what shoppers may find leading up to the holiday.
Market Basket Survey Comparison 2019 Average Price 2018 Average Price
Frozen, Self-Basting Turkey 16 lb. $20.38 $29.68
Herb-seasoned cube stuffing 14oz. $2.64 $3.02
Enriched Brown & Serve Rolls 12 oz./12 per pkg. $2.96 $3.26
Gallon of Whole Milk $2.90 $2.54
Frozen Green Peas 16oz. pkg. $1.34 $1.40
Libby’s Pumpkin Pie Mix 30oz. can $3.20 $2.48
9 in. frozen pie shell- 2 count $2.75 $3.37
Whipping Cream ½ pint carton $2.17 $2.18
Fresh Carrots per pound $1.22 $.98
One Bunch of Celery $2.10 $1.84
Sweet Potatoes per pound $1.21 $1.12
Package of Fresh Cranberries $2.64 $2.66
Miscellaneous Ingredients $3.22 $3.01
Classic Thanksgiving Total $48.73 $57.54
Half Bone-in Ham, 4 lbs. $8.86 $10.82
Russet Potatoes, 5 lb. bag $3.26 $3.30
Frozen Green Beans, 16 oz. pkg $1.41 $1.35
Expanded Dinner Total Price $62.26 $73.01
New York Farm Bureau does not make any statistical claims about the survey data, but it is a useful gauge of price trends across New York and the country for shoppers who look to compare prices.