DAVIDSONVILLE, MD. – Thanksgiving dinner in Maryland is set to be slightly lighter on the wallet this year, as a new Farm Bureau survey reveals a decrease in the average cost of the holiday feast. The traditional meal for ten now averages $61.17, equating to an affordable $6.20 per person.
This 4.5% decrease in cost from last year’s high of $64.05 offers a small but meaningful respite for Maryland families. Yet, this figure still represents a significant 25% increase compared to the cost 2019. The persistence of high supply costs and inflation has affected food prices since the pre-pandemic period. Maryland finds itself in the U.S.’s most expensive region for Thanksgiving meals, with the Northeast average at $64.38. In contrast, the Midwest and South report lower average costs of $58.66 and $59.10, respectively, while the West comes in at $63.89.
The decline in overall cost can largely be attributed to the turkey, the quintessential Thanksgiving centerpiece. The average price for a 16-pound turkey is $27.35, down by 5.6% from last year, amounting to $1.71 per pound. This turkey price reduction played a pivotal role in lowering the overall meal cost.
Wayne Stafford, President of Maryland Farm Bureau, highlighted the efforts of the state’s farmers. “Our hardworking Maryland farmers work day in and day out to produce many of our favorite Thanksgiving foods, even despite high inflation prices and fuel costs,” he said. Stafford also urged Marylanders to continue supporting the local agricultural industry during the holiday season.
Maryland’s agricultural sector, the state’s largest commercial industry, boasts over 220 turkey farms, producing more than 50,000 turkeys annually. Additionally, the state harvests nearly 30,000 acres of vegetables for sale each year. This robust agricultural backdrop significantly affects the local economy and food supply.
The Farm Bureau’s survey, which has been consistently tracking holiday meal costs since 1986 using an unchanged menu for accurate price comparisons, offers insights into the fluctuations in food prices over the years. This year’s decrease, though modest, provides a slight relief for Maryland families amidst ongoing economic challenges.
For further details and data from the survey, the American Farm Bureau Federation’s website offers comprehensive information and insights.