Badger State Thanksgiving meal price tracks below national average

Thanksgiving meal in Wisconsin up 4.3% this year.
Badger State Thanksgiving meal price tracks below national average
Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 9:05 AM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -Those with sights set on Thanksgiving in two day’s time, can add another small gratitude to the list. While the cost of Thanksgiving dinner is going up nearly 20% nationwide, Wisconsin is the exception.

The numbers are out and the Farm Bureau estimates Americans as a whole will pay $81.30 on average for a classic feast of 10, which is up 18.3% from 2021. In the Badger State, the price of a Thanksgiving meal is 4.3% higher than it was last year. That is according to the Wisconsin Farm Bureau.

This means Wisconsinites can expect to pay on average a price tag of $74.54 for a gathering of 10.

Jenifer Street Market on Madison’s east side is in the middle of the Thanksgiving rush. Meat manager Justin Strassman says despite the avian influenza that wiped out 49 million birds in 46 states, he has been able to fill all of his 500 turkey orders for this November. Rather it’s inflation wreaking havoc on wallets this year.

However the lower increase in price compared to the nation’s price hike, Strassman says is in part because of regional availability.

Strassman says thankfully the market’s turkeys are only up 50-60 cents per pound, which tracks with what the rest of the state is seeing. “The prices have gone up a little bit but, it isn’t as high as I thought it was going to be.”

While supporting local may come at a slightly higher price tag compared to shopping at big box stores, Strassman said it’s nice to be seeing customers put the community first during the holidays.

“Some of our prices are higher but we’re also really competing in a lot of the same prices’s all close, but I think we give a better quality as well,” he added. “As a small local business you want the local community to support you, so it’s great having those people come to us and we’re happy to fill all their meat needs,” said Strassman.

Eighty-eight percent of Americans eat turkey for Thanksgiving, according to the National Turkey Federation. “Turkey is definitely king,” laughed Strassman. JSM started with 500 turkeys and now with two days until the big day, only 30 remain. “We have less available now than we did at this time last year,” Strassman said.

Shoppers can stretch their food dollars to get the most of out the items they’re putting on the table, and a way to do that, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau says, is by shopping locally sourced product. Cassie Sonnentag, WFBF’s director of media relations and outreach, said in a prepared statement, Wisconsin shoppers are at an advantage.

“We are fortunate to be regionally close to many Thanksgiving staples, so shoppers are likely to see lower costs on products grown and raised here in Wisconsin,” said Sonnentag. “As we get closer to the Thanksgiving holiday, we will also likely see lower prices on products due to in-store promotions.”

Shopping locally grown proteins the WFBF says is one way to cut costs. The federation also says it is likely to see lower prices on turkey and ham product due to in-store promotions the closer we get to Nov. 24.

Wisconsin’s Thanksgiving Marketbasket survey is an informal, annual review of food price trends in relation to changing farm prices, weather and wholesale and retail food marketing. WFB members collected price samples of 15 Thanksgiving food items in November.

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