Virginians will be able to feed their families a Thanksgiving meal for a little over $6 per person this year, according to an informal price survey conducted by the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation.
The survey of basic grocery items typically found on Thanksgiving tables puts the average cost of a traditional meal for 10 adults at $64.24, or $6.42 per person. The menu includes turkey, ham, stuffing, sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, rolls, carrots, green beans, peas, celery, cranberries, milk and pumpkin pie with whipped cream. Prices were reported by volunteer shoppers around the state using no promotional sales or coupons.
This year’s average represents an increase of $11.94 from the 2018 average price of $52.30 for a 10-person meal.
A classic Thanksgiving meal without ham, russet potatoes and green beans—all of which were added to the survey in 2018—will cost Virginians an average of $50.57 this year.
This is the 16th year the Farm Bureau has conducted the survey, which is based on an annual survey conducted by the American Farm Bureau Federation.
The Virginia locality with the highest average cost for a meal this year was Williamsburg at $90.68. The locality with the lowest average cost was Hanover County at $40.26.
Based on surveys at grocery stores throughout Virginia, the Farm Bureau found the average cost of a 16-pound turkey was $26.35, or about $1.65 per pound. The 2018 average was $1.29 per pound.
The organization found that the average price for a four-pound bone-in ham was $8.57; a gallon of whole milk was $3.11; for peas, $1.42; for green beans, $1.48; for a pound bag of sweet potatoes, $1.07; for 5-pound bag of russet potatoes, $3.62; for celery, $1.80; for carrots, $1.06; for pie shells, $2.58; for whipping cream, $1.72; for canned pumpkin pie filling, $3.17; for cranberries, $2.61; for stuffing mix, $2.68; and for rolls, $3 a dozen.
With more than 860,000 Virginians considered “food insecure,” Farm Bureau officials say many local farmers are committed to both quality foods and helping those in need.
“It’s not at all unusual for a county Farm Bureau annual meeting notice to include a request that members bring nonperishable food items for donation to a local food bank,” VFBF President Wayne F. Pryor said in a prepared statement.
Virginia farmers also donate fresh produce and milk to the Federation of Virginia Food Banks, which is made up of seven regional food banks. In 2018 they donated 1.5 million pounds of produce to support the organization’s mission of serving Virginians all year long.
“We really value our partnerships with farmers, and we know they often sacrifice a lot,” Eddie Oliver, executive director of the Federation of Virginia Food Bank, said. "We know they work hard throughout the year, and we know that times can be tough for them as well, so we appreciate it all the more when they’re able to dig deep and give back.”
The Federation of Virginia Food Banks welcomes both food and monetary donations. More information can be found at vafoodbanks.org.
This content was provided by the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation.