Cost of Thanksgiving turkey drops from last year, but not in Hawai‘i

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While the cost of the Thanksgiving meal has gone down on a national level, the Big Island community appears to still be paying premium prices for their holiday dinners.

Leihulu Yung, 41 of Kailua-Kona, said she spent about $300 toward her family’s holiday meal this year with the turkey alone costing approximately $40 at Sack and Save.

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the food prices for the classic Thanksgiving dinner – turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pie, etc. – has gone down. The federation’s 38th annual Thanksgiving dinner survey showed a feast for 10 costing $61.17, or approximately $6.12 per guest.

This represents a 4.5% decline from historically high prices last year, driven by a decline in the price of the Thanksgiving dinner centerpiece – the turkey. Despite the year-over-year relief, the cost is still 25% higher compared to 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.


The Farm Bureau’s shopping list for its informal survey includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, dinner rolls, peas, cranberries, carrots and celery, pumpkin pie mix, pie shells, whipping cream and whole milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty for leftovers. The survey also includes nontraditional menu items such as ham, Russet potatoes and green beans.

According to the survey, a 16-pound turkey cost $27.35 or $1.71 per pound, down by 5.6% from the year before.

“Traditionally, the turkey is the most expensive item on the Thanksgiving dinner table,” said the federation’s Senior Economist Veronica Nigh. “Turkey prices have fallen thanks to a sharp reduction in cases of avian influenza, which have allowed production to increase in time for the holiday.”


In an unofficial survey conducted on Wednesday, Big Island Now looked at prices at KTA, Sack and Save and Safeway and compared some of the prices on the national survey.

On average a frozen turkey was approximately $2.92 per pound. However, Costco in Kona was having a sale on turkeys for 99 cents per pound.

Two 9-inch frozen pie crusts were an average of $4.72. The national average is $3.50, down 4.9%. A 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix was $4.75. The national average is $4.44, up by 3.7%.


According to the national average, a dozen dinner rolls are up by 2.9% costing $3.84. Here at the Kona stores, a dozen King’s Hawaiian dinner rolls cost an average of $7.65.

The American Farm Bureau Federation’s survey is based on prices in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, taken from Nov. 1 through Nov. 6.

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