Thanksgiving: How expensive will Americans pay for dinner?

The best way to achieve some savings for Thanksgiving dinner is to shop ahead for groceries or, if you choose, to go out to a restaurant.

Once a year, Americans have time to reflect, to be thankful for what they have lived, to remember, to long for those who are not here, to spend time with their loved ones, with their family. All this meaning has Thanksgiving Day, a date that is perhaps the most commemorative and significant in the country, even over Christmas and the New Year. For this 2022, it may be different, since Americans worry about inflation.

No one has been immune to the high costs faced by various products and services. And if you don’t want to splurge on Thanksgiving dinner, it’s best, as always, to plan ahead. According to the latest data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), comparing the numbers for November 2021, the cost of food outside the home increased at a slower rate, by 5.79 %, than food at home bought in a supermarket, which was 9.8%.

In the words of Dr. Michael Swanson, economist at Wells Fargo, deciding between eating at home and going out to a restaurant for Thanksgiving depends a lot on the number of guests you are going to have.

“If four people come together to eat, it is better to go out and enjoy, because you also have to take into account the waste of food, you end up throwing away the food and that is money (money). But if 25 people are going to meet, it is better to do it at home”, explained Dr. Swanson in an interview.

According to an analysis by Wells Fargo, it could currently cost the same to have dinner at home that day as it would to go out to a restaurant. Although you have to take into account that if you do it at home, it has a labor cost that is already integrated into the price you pay in a restaurant.

And it is that it is predicted that by 2022, Thanksgiving dinner will be 14% more expensive, compared to the previous year. And there are several factors that have influenced the prices of the basic food basket to have increased in recent months.

The latest official data reveals that some raw materials for Thanksgiving dinner have seen substantial increases. For example, eggs have had an increase of 35.5%, butter rose 25.8% and flour had an increase of 17.1%. Fruits and vegetables are 7.3% more expensive compared to 2021. And if you were expecting to know the price of turkey, according to projections, it is expected to be 23% more expensive than last year.

There are several reasons why these prices have been severely impacted. “Many factories were closed due to the pandemic and that was the beginning. The next thing was the war between Russia and Ukraine, which has caused energy and food to have increased (their costs)”, explained Dr. Swanson .

The economics specialist also added that hens and chickens were affected by diseases such as bird flu. “There was also a problem with the cows and this affects the production of the butter, the same thing happened with the turkeys, they faced diseases,” said Dr. Swanson.

How to Get Some Savings for Thanksgiving Dinner

The only way to achieve this is to shop early. “You have to anticipate. Stores seek to attract attention with promotions. You have to take the time to go to two or three supermarkets to check prices and if you leave it to the last minute you will not be able to compare”, recommends Dr. Swanson.

The right time will depend on the ingredients you are going to buy. For example, when choosing turkey, if it is frozen, you can anticipate it about two weeks before, but if it is about fruits and vegetables, you cannot anticipate it more than two or three days.

What to expect from Thanksgiving 2023

Lower inflation, according to Dr. Swanson. “Less food inflation is expected. The war (between Russia and Ukraine) would be over and the hiring of labor in factories and trucks continues to increase”, which would help to avoid further interruptions in the supply chain.

“The United States is used to having stable prices. The trend is that inflation is going to go down, I’m not saying it’s going to be cheap, but there will be less inflation in 2023“, concluded Dr. Swanson.