This Might Be the Most Expensive Thanksgiving Ever

Supply issues, labor shortages are driving up prices of many ingredients
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 26, 2021 2:47 PM CDT
This Might Be the Most Expensive Thanksgiving Ever
A traditional Thanksgiving dinner will cost around 5% more this year, analysts say.   (Getty Images/bhofack2)

The American Farm Bureau says the average cost of preparing a Thanksgiving dinner fell to its lowest level in a decade last year—but 2021 is a very different story. Price hikes on numerous items for a variety of reasons are set to make this year's Thanksgiving feast the most expensive on record, the New York Times reports. Canned cranberries will cost more because of a steel shortage, turkeys will cost more because the price of the corn they eat has more than doubled, and dinner rolls will cost more because the price of baking ingredients has gone up.

"When you go to the grocery store and it feels more expensive, that's because it is," Farm Bureau economist Veronica Nigh tells CBS. The bureau predicts that a typical turkey dinner with all the trimmings will cost up to 5% more than it did a year ago. Supply chain issues and labor shortages are also driving up prices. Norman Brown at Wada Farms in Raleigh, NC, says he is paying truckers almost double the normal rate to haul sweet potatoes. "I never seen anything like it, and I’ve been running sweet potatoes for 38 or 39 years," he tells the Times. "I don’t know what the answer is, but in the end it’s all going to get passed on to the consumer."

Analysts say turkey prices per pound are on course to top the record of $1.36 set in 2015. It's not clear whether consumers will face shortage of ingredients, though some have started stocking up already. "I picture a perfect storm of increased demand and lack of supply," says food writer Matt Lardie. Nigh at the Farm Bureau, however, says people should be able to find whatever they want, though they might pay more for it. She says this is a normal production year for turkeys, but many farmers kept them on feed longer to deal with an expected rise in demand. "If you can't raise more turkeys, raise turkeys that are a little fatter," Nigh says. (Read more Thanksgiving stories.)

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