Thanksgiving dinner shrinks as grocery prices continue to increase

Reporter: Andryanna Sheppard
Published: Updated:

Between high prices and preparing for the holidays, families are cutting back this Thanksgiving. Groceries went up 2.1 percent in October 2023 compared to October 2022, according to US Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation data.

Thanksgiving is Eddie Nelson’s favorite holiday.

“I love it. The turkey, the potato salad, the collard greens, black-eyed peas, the pies,” Nelson listed. “Now this year, it’s too expensive.”

She isn’t putting the extravagant feast for her 25 or so loved ones on her her dinner table this year.

Eddie Nelson speaking with WINK News Consumer Reporter about Thanksgiving prices
Eddie Nelson speaking with WINK News Consumer Reporter about Thanksgiving prices, CREDIT: WINK News

“When you told your family ‘I can’t do it this year.’ What did they say?” WINK News Consumer Reporter Andryanna Sheppard asked.

“‘What do you mean you can’t do it?!'” Nelson recalled. “Too expensive! We just can’t do it because everybody looks to me. They say I’m the best cook. I don’t know about that but we have to find somebody else.”

The good news is the star of Thanksgiving dinner won’t cost you as much this year. According to the USDA, turkeys cost about $1.45 per pound. That’s about 10 less than 2022’s price tag.

Southwest Florida Thanksgiving turkey prices

Whole frozen turkeys are much cheaper in the three Southwest Florida stores Sheppard’s been tracking prices at for more than two years. At Publix, Southwest Florida shoppers will spend anywhere between $0.69-$1.99 per pound for a bird. It’ll cost you $0.98-$1.28 per pound for a turkey at Walmart, roughly the same prices as last Thanksgiving. A turkey from Target can run you up to $1.49 per pound.

Thanksgiving turkeys

Nelson isn’t necessarily concerned about how much the turkey will set her back, it’s the prices for everything it takes to make the other side dishes that pushed her to cancel dinner.

“I wish prices would come down so I can enjoy my special holiday,” Nelson said.

Instead, she’ll be kicking back and watching football.

“[My family] can come over. We can have fun but there’s no cooking. There’s no cooking.”

If you’re worried about being able to afford your Thanksgiving dinner, consider cooking with generic brands. They’re often significantly cheaper than the name brand you’re familiar with and are sometimes made at the same facility. You can cut down on your spread by making only a couple of favorite dishes or turn this year’s celebration into a pot luck where everyone will have to bring something for the table.

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.