LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The cost of putting Thanksgiving dinner on the table should be lower for Arkansas residents this year. 

Arkansas Farm Bureau stated Wednesday that Thanksgiving is not only expected to cost less this year, but Arkansas is below the national average for meal cost in 2023. This was a drop in price after record-setting high prices nationally and in Arkansas in 2022.

In Arkansas, the per-person cost of a typical Thanksgiving meal for 2023 averages $59 for a meal serving 10 guests, Arkansas Farm Bureau representatives stated, compared to the national cost of $61. The $61 figure represents a 4.5% drop from the $64 per-meal cost in 2022.

The cost of turkey is a major factor in this year’s downturn. Last year, avian influenza reduced the number of turkeys available for sale, according to the American Farm Bureau.

Tyler Oxner with Arkansas Farm Bureau said the Natural State had good news about turkey cost at $1.42 a pound average, compared to the national $1.71 per-pound average.

Oxner also pointed out that improved efficiencies in the trucking industry have helped lower costs for the big birds.

“The birds are able to get to the store a little bit better and a little bit easier,” Oxner said.

The Bureau continued to price typical sides and desserts in calculating Thanksgiving meal cost, finding average retail prices on stuffing, cranberries, sweet potatoes, peas, dinner roles and pumpkin pie with whipped cream. 

For 2023, prices for cranberries have dropped nearly a half-cent for 12 ounces, and whipping cream dropped 51 cents for a half-pint. Cubed stuffing dropped 11 cents for 14 ounces and pie crusts dropped 18 cents for two.

Some of this was offset by an 11-cent increase for 12 rolls and a 16-cent increase for 30 ounces of pumpkin pie mix, with the remainder of meal ingredients moving a few cents one way or the other from 2022 prices. 

Farm Bureau began pricing typical Thanksgiving meals in 1987 when a 10-person meal had an average cost of $28.74. The most expensive year the bureau recorded was 2022 at $64.05 for 10 people.