Skip to Main Content

How much is that turkey in the window?

Consumers have a lot to give thanks for this Thanksgiving as they head to the grocery stores. Jayson Lusk, distinguished professor and department head of Purdue’s agricultural economics department, said shoppers can expect prices of Thanksgiving staples to be on par, if not a bit lower, than the past several years.

“Agricultural commodity prices, like for corn and soybeans, have been low for some time and have remained low,” Lusk said. “These are the ingredients for a lot of food and are also used to make feed for animals, so that’s one of the drivers.” Low energy costs over the past few years also add to the affordability of food.

Of course, what’s positive for the consumer often comes at a cost for farmers. Lusk said the agricultural economy is depressed, especially in contrast to five years ago. Certain sectors, like pork, beef, and poultry, benefit from low feed prices and continue to prosper whereas other industries, like dairy, are feeling the strain of an oversaturated market and low prices. Lusk doesn’t see this trend reversing anytime soon.  “Overall, if you look at total revenues in the farm sector they are expected to decline,” he said.

So, what exactly can shoppers expect when they head to the stores to pick up their Thanksgiving Day feast? This year, Lusk said, consumers will accrue major savings on purchasing their bird. Turkey prices are expected to be between 8-10 percent lower than this time last year, ringing in around $1.45 a pound. “One has to go back more than a decade to find retail whole frozen turkey prices as low,” Lusk added.

Poultry isn’t the only place where savings can be found. Cranberries are 30 percent cheaper than five years ago at around 50 cents per pound. Staples have not been subject to inflation and are the same price or slightly more affordable than last year. Sugar, white flour, and potatoes cost 63 cents, 50 cents and 60 cents per pound, respectively. “Food inflation across the board has remained quite low,” Lusk explained.

Low food prices can have a ripple effect on other areas of the economy, especially around the holidays when consumer spending spikes. Lusk said savings accrued during Thanksgiving may be used to supplement Christmas or Black Friday shopping. Alternatively, many people might choose to upgrade their Thanksgiving spread, switching to organic meats and vegetables, more niche food or higher-quality ingredients. “I would guess that’s one of the biggest places we’ll see people spending these savings,” Lusk added.

And there is even more good news, Lusk added. Historically low food prices around Thanksgiving often translate into affordable food near Christmas and other winter holidays. So, whether consumers are eyeing a juicy roast for their Christmas meal or a giant tofurky, they can expect to continue saving.

Featured Stories

Alex Dudley holds a black vulture; Alex is pictured through a hole in a rock formation; Alex holds her camera in front of a forested mountain landscape.
Meet FNR Outstanding Senior Alex Dudley

From her research on black vulture ecology in the Zollner lab and on digital forestry under Dr....

Read More
Yellow flowers against a leafy green background
April Showers Bring May Flowers to Jules Janick Horticulture Garden

The sweet smell of hundreds of blossoms draws pollinators and people alike to the Jules Janick...

Read More
Dr. Rob Swihart, Bob Burke and others at an HTIRC meeting in 2016.
FNR Remembers Alumnus, HTIRC Advisory Committee Member Bob Burke

Robert Dean “Bob” Burke, who received his bachelor’s degree from Purdue...

Read More
John Couture in Martell Greenhouse at the Wright Center.
John Couture named University Faculty Scholar for multifaceted research in plant and insect ecology

John Couture has been chosen as a 2024 University Faculty Scholar for his exceptional research...

Read More
Bob Auber presents from a screen titled "A Day in the Life." In the foreground, there are two graduate students watching.
‘Plants to people:’ Bob Auber’s path from the Center for Plant Biology to oncology

On Friday March 22, Bob Auber returned to Room 116 in Whistler Hall to stand behind a podium in...

Read More
Measuring soil in a field
New Indiana Organic Network to engage farmers in statewide soil health census

A Purdue University interdisciplinary team is establishing a network of organic farmers to...

Read More
To Top