Ham or Turkey? One of these holiday favorites will leave you paying more at the checkout register.

Steady Increases Since 2020

Since the pandemic, we have seen a steady increase in pretty much everything from goods and services to fuel and food and those increases become really apparent when planning a big family meal like many traditionally serve for Thanksgiving. In 2021, the average cost of Thanksgiving dinner shot up 14% over the previous year. Things weren't any better in 2022 when the cost of the holiday meal climbed another 20% from the year before. While not as drastic, the Consumer Price Index shows food-at-home prices are up 2.4% in 2023.

Expect Your Thanksgiving Meal to Cost More

There is no doubt in anyone's mind that inflation is crushing our pocketbooks, and as we head into the holiday season, our family meals are going to cost us more. Whether your family chooses turkey or ham will play a role in just how much more your meal may cost.

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Ham Prices May Give You Sticker Shock

For families that serve ham with their Thanksgiving meals, you may be in for a bit of sticker shock. The price of ham has been on the rise thanks in part to "high feed costs," according to Wells Fargo. If you want to eat high on the hog this Thanksgiving, it's going to cost you 5.2% more than it did in 2022.

Despite food-at-home inflation slowing to 2.4% since last October,<sup class="c20ref" data-footnote="tcm:84-301537-16">1</sup> this year’s celebration will not be less expensive. That’s because there are record price spreads between the wholesale price supermarkets pay versus the retail prices consumers pay - and the difference is impacting some of the most popular holiday dishes, including turkey and ham. Prices for other categories are up too, so consumers will need to be conscious of sales and shopping early.

Turkey Has Seen a Small Price Decline

The cost of turkey is down over 2022 prices, costing 16% less than last year. And while this may sound like a win for your Thanksgiving spread, don't get too excited yet because everything else to prepare your meal is more expensive.

attachment-thanksgiving inflation

Want Sides? They'll Cost You

Everything from canned green beans to sweet potatoes has seen a jump, and if canned cranberries are a holiday tradition in your home, be prepared. Cranberries in a can have seen a dramatic increase of 60% since last year. Even your pumpkin pie is going to cost more with canned pumpkin up 30% since 2022.

Regardless of what it costs, and even if we have to cut back a little bit on what we are serving, we can all agree that sitting down with our families for a holiday meal is a tradition that you just can't put a price tag on.

[Source: Wells Fargo]

When to Start Thawing Your Thanksgiving Turkey in the Fridge

Plan ahead! This is when you should start thawing out your Thanksgiving turkey in the fridge in 2023.

Gallery Credit: Travis Sams


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