Cost of turkey up 40% in Wisconsin, Farm Bureau says

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The price of a Thanksgiving meal in 2021 is experiencing a 17.25% increase this year according to Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s annual Marketbasket survey that rang in at $71.49. (Getty Images)

MADISON, Wisc. (NEXSTAR) — As families return to traditional Thanksgiving gatherings this year, they can expect to spend around 14% more at the grocery store than they did in 2020, according to the American Farm Bureau. In Wisconsin, shoppers will spend as much as 17.25% more this year for a total cost of around $71.49 for a family of 10.

Data was made available Thursday from the 2021 Farm Bureau Thanksgiving Marketbasket survey, in which volunteer shoppers across the U.S. were asked to identify the average price of traditional Thanksgiving meal items such as turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce.

The centerpiece on most Thanksgiving tables – the turkey – was the driver of Wisconsin’s vast increase, according to the Wisconsin Farm Bureau. Nationally, the price of turkey saw a 25% increase per pound from 2020 to 2021. In Wisconsin, however, that price saw a 40% jump.

According to the Farm Bureau, lingering effects of the pandemic, including inflation, disruptions to the supply chain and an increase in food consumed at home, were the major contributing factors to the overall increase of Thanksgiving staples.

“It is no secret that the supply chain has been significantly disrupted in the past year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Director of Media Relations and Outreach Cassie Sonnentag said. “Increased costs from processing to transportation have led to increased food prices, particularly in protein products.”

While the price of the Thanksgiving staple remains high, Sonnentag pointed out that for the survey, volunteer shoppers were asked to look for the best prices, without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals.

“It is likely that shoppers will get a better deal on turkey purchases closer to the holiday than survey shoppers did earlier in the month,” Sonnentag said.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, shoppers heading to the market over the next few days can expect to pay the following prices for their Thanksgiving staples:

  • Frozen Turkey Hen (12 lbs.) – $0.88 cents per pound
  • Sweet Potatoes – $0.83 cents per pound
  • Russet Potatoes – $0.90 cents per pound
  • Cranberries – $2.22 per 12 oz. bag
  • Green beans – $1.64 per pound
  • Milk (1 gallon) – $3.75 per gallon

“We know that even small price increases can make a difference for family budgets, and we are taking every step we can to mitigate that,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “The good news is that the top turkey producers in the country are confident that everyone who wants a bird for their Thanksgiving dinner will be able to get one, and a large one will only cost $1 dollar more than last year.”

See the chart below to compare the difference in cost from last year to this year, according to the Farm Bureau survey:

 Wis. 2020Wis. 2021National 2021
Turkey, 16 lbs.20.3228.4823.99
Milk, 1 gallon whole2.873.053.30
Cream, half pint1.962.041.78
Dinner rolls, 12      2.492.523.05
Relish tray (1 lb. carrots/celery)0.700.780.82
Fresh cranberries, 12 oz.2.032.112.98
Pumpkin pie mix, 30 oz.3.383.743.64
Pie shells (2)2.322.582.91
Cube stuffing, 14 oz.2.743.142.29
Sweet potatoes, 3 lbs.3.362.883.56
Frozen green beans, 1 lb.1.581.701.58
Miscellaneous ingredients3.093.453.45
Ham, 4 lbs.10.3610.6810.87
Russet potatoes, 5 lbs.2.352.622.96
Frozen peas, 16 oz.1.421.721.54
TOTAL$60.97$71.49$68.72

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