The Food Institute Blog

The Food Institute Blog

Thanksgiving 2016: Who's Doing What?
Posted on November 21, 2016 by Chris Campbell

In a few days, the vast majority of Americans will sit down for a meal with their loved ones and give thanks for a nearly-completed year. However, how those Americans will celebrate varies greatly by region and background. It would be impossible to fully articulate all of the differences, but luckily, a few recent news reports shed some light on the subject.

For those who plan to celebrate at home with a traditional Thanksgiving meal, there is some good news: The cost of a Thanksgiving meal for 10 people fell 24 cents to $49.87, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. A whole 16-lb. turkey costs $22.74 this year, down 30 cents from 2015. In addition to turkey, the foods with the largest price decreases were 30-oz. cans of pumpkin pie mix at $3.13, gallons of milk at $3.17 and one-pound veggie trays of celery and carrots at $0.73.

What else are those homemade Thanksgiving meals made up of? A majority of Americans' holiday meals consist of several "traditional American" dishes, including turkey or ham, side dishes, like mashed potatoes and green beans, and dessert, such as apple or pecan pie, according to Harris Poll. Nearly three in 10 Americans prepare traditional dishes with an ethnic twist or cooking method from another culture. Almost two in 10 would prefer to make Thanksgiving dinner from a meal kit, with ingredients and instructions pre-portioned and delivered. An interesting note from the report: seven in 10 adults also agree it’s not a proper Thanksgiving meal unless you celebrate with family (71%).

Not everyone will be schlepping to grandma's for dinner, though. Approximately 10% of Americans plan to dine at a restaurant on Thanksgiving, according to the National Restaurant Association. Half of consumers will eat a meal in their own home, while 40% will eat at someone else's house. Approximately 5% of consumers dining at home plan on ordering a full takeout meal from a restaurant.

No matter how you plan to celebrate the holiday, all of us at the Food Institute wish you a Happy Thanksgiving! We will be closing early on Nov. 23 and won't be returning until the Monday after Thanksgiving, so you'll get another blog post from Jennette tomorrow before we take a little hiatus. You can expect publication to resume on Nov. 28.


About the Author

Chris Campbell
Business Writer
The Food Institute

Chris focuses on fresh, canned and frozen fruit and fresh and dried vegetables for the Food Institute Report. In addition, he assists in compiling data for various Food Institute publications throughout the year. He is a proud Rutgers University alumnus with a degree in English, and has a background in web writing for a variety of industries, including legal, foodservice and small-to-medium sized businesses. In his downtime you can find him watching New York Yankees baseball, hiking, enjoying live music and spending time with his dog Kaiden. He invites you to contact him via email at to talk about anything food-related.


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