Turkeys are estimated to cost Americans $1.1 billion for Thanksgiving 2020

Research shows Americans will spend roughly $55.9 million more on their Thanksgiving bird this year.

Updated . What changed?

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Thanksgiving dinner

Americans aren’t the only ones riding the train to Gravy Town and getting stuffed this Thanksgiving. According to the National Turkey Federation, 88% of Americans say they will be eating Thanksgiving turkey.

Last year, this equated to an expected 290 million Americans gathering to enjoy this yearly feast. For 2020, expect to see an increase of more than 400,000 turkey lovers.

Finder has crunched the numbers in order to find out how much Americans are expected to spend on turkey this coming Thanksgiving in comparison with last year. We estimated a total of $968.8 million being spent on turkey last year. This year, our estimates show that Americans are expected to spend $1.095 billion, $55.9 million more. This increase is driven by an increase in the price per pound of turkey this November compared to last November.

This is based on a projection that 16 lb turkeys will cost $23.81 this year. To estimate this cost, we used monthly retail price data from the Economic Research Service at the US Department of Agriculture (ERS USDA) to project the price of a turkey in November 2020.

Cost of a Thanksgiving Turkey stats graphic

The cost of turkeys this Thanksgiving

  • 46 million: Number of turkeys expected to be consumed on Thanksgiving Day
  • 291 million: Number of Americans likely to be eating a turkey dinner
  • 88%: Proportion of Americans to be feasting on Thanksgiving turkey
  • $1.095 billion: Spend on turkeys this Thanksgiving

Fun Thanksgiving turkey facts

  • In 2012, the average American ate 16 pounds of turkey
  • Turkey hens (female) are usually sold as whole birds. Toms (male) are processed into turkey sausage, turkey franks, tenderloins, cutlets and deli meats.
  • The heaviest turkey ever raised was 86 pounds, about the size of a large dog.
  • Male turkeys gobble, hens do not. Female turkeys make a clicking noise.
  • In 2011, 726 million pounds of turkey were consumed in the United States

Source: University of Illinois Extension

Quick tips from the author, Chelsea Wells-Barrett, on how to save money on your Thanksgiving meal this year:

“Consider planning your meals with nearby family members and splitting the bill. Each year since my in-laws moved to town, my mother-in-law and I make a holiday menu together and then delegate each meal item. By planning ahead, we’re able to avoid buying ingredients we already have and sharing the cost of items we’ll both use and need. This also allows us to stay within budget, greatly reducing financial stress.”

“Utilize shopping apps like iBotta to receive cashback on qualifying items. If you have and plan to use credit cards, make sure you use one that will give you the best bang for your buck on groceries.”

“Don’t be afraid to go off-brand. Generic brands are often less money than name-brand items with little to no difference in ingredients. Consider buying the store-brand organic item instead of the most popular brand. Look for inexpensive alternatives to the ingredients you need and compare prices before checking out.”

Methodology

The number of turkeys eaten each Thanksgiving and was sourced from the University of Illinois Extension.The percentage of Americans that eat turkey each Thanksgiving was sourced from the National Turkey Federation.

To calculate the total spend on turkeys this Thanksgiving, finder.com projected the average cost of a 16 pound turkey this November based monthly retail price data from the Economic Research Service at the US Department of Agriculture (ERS USDA). We forecast the price per pound of turkey based on monthly turkey prices since August 2018 using the ratio-to-moving average method to account for the seasonality in turkey prices.

We multiplied the projected cost of a 16-pound turkey by the estimated number of turkeys eaten each Thanksgiving to find the total expected to be spent on Thanksgiving turkeys this year.

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