Report: Virginia's Thanksgiving meal more expensive than national average

(The Center Square) — National data indicates that Thanksgiving prices are down slightly from last year, but more local Virginia data shows a dramatic rise consistent with inflation in Thanksgiving costs since 2022.

The national average for a Thanksgiving meal for 10 in 2023 is $61.17, down from a record high of $64.05 in 2022, according to an annual survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The AFBF recorded prices for turkey, rolls, milk, green peas, sweet potatoes, stuffing, a veggie tray, fresh cranberries, pumpkin pie and whipped cream.

A similar meal in Virginia would cost $73.91 this year, up from $57.63 – a 27% increase – in 2022, based on an informal survey conducted by the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation.

Volunteer shoppers assessed prices online and in person at 45 grocery stores across the state. While they looked for the cheapest prices, many of the holiday sales had yet to go into effect when the survey was conducted.

The average price of a 16-pound turkey in the commonwealth jumped from $28.16, or $1.76 per pound, to $34.86, or $2.18 per pound.

Whipping cream and pumpkin pie mix were the items whose prices increased the most since last year (besides turkey). Whipping cream was $2.26 in 2022 and is now $3.47. Thirty ounces of pumpkin pie mix was $3.68; now, $4.21.

Most items saw an increase of less than 20 cents, except for sweet potatoes, russet potatoes and whole milk, which cost more last year.

For a larger meal (still for 10 but including ham, russet potatoes and green beans), the Virginia Farm Bureau reported the highest costs in Powhatan County and the lowest in Richmond. For context, the AFBF recorded a national average of $84.75 for such a meal; Virginia’s would be a bit more at $91.30. But buying the meal in Powhatan County would cost $124.84; in Richmond, it’d be less than half of that at $57.93.

Regionally, Thanksgiving costs were cheapest in the Midwest, at an average of $58.66, followed by the South at $59.10, the West at $63.89 and the Northeast as the most expensive at $64.38, according to the AFBF.


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