Inflation has reared its ugly head across industries, and now it has finally dipped its tentacles into the holiday season, forcing Americans to make choices about how they plan to celebrate. On Thanksgiving Day 2022, it might be in your wallet’s best interest for you to ditch the oven and opt for a table reservation, per a recent Wells Fargo report.
In years past, the decision to dine out for Thanksgiving dinner (or order takeout), was exactly that: a personal choice. Whether because families finally felt comfortable enough to admit they hate turkey or because hosting everyone at the house can be endlessly stressful, individual preferences dictated the source of the meal. But the spread for Thanksgiving 2022 could be one determined by necessity.
To put it plainly, inflation has caused grocery prices to rise so high that you’re better off just buying food that’s prepared for you. Overall, Wells Fargo’s report emphasizes that since 2021, the cost of food away from home has increased at a slower rate of 5.79%, versus a standard grocery trip, which has increased at a rate of 9.81%.
Take, for example, some of the most quintessential Thanksgiving foods: turkey, potatoes, and cranberries. Wells Fargo predicts that turkey prices will be 23% higher than last year, a change that the report partially attributes to a bird flu outbreak earlier this year that wiped out much of the livestock. Although inventory has been restocked and you’re likely to find a turkey if you wish to purchase one, it’s expected to be more expensive per pound.
On top of increasing poultry prices, this year’s crops have faced many challenges. Extreme weather conditions in the Northwest, where much of the nation’s potato supply is grown, led to a smaller crop. This does not necessarily mean there will be a shortage of potatoes, just that they will be more expensive.
Weather conditions also affected the cranberry crop, leading to higher production costs for farmers, and thus higher prices for consumers. However, the Wells Fargo report notes fresh berries will be more expensive, but canned cranberry sauce might not experience the same price hike. And sweet potatoes will be a more affordable option than white potatoes, as their production did not face the same challenges.
Why put in the extra work of cooking when it’s also going to cost you more? This is, admittedly, a fairly unsentimental way of looking at a holiday meant to bring families together, and the homemade stuff can look and taste amazing. But if togetherness is truly the goal, then the source of the food, or the type of cuisine involved, shouldn’t matter much. You can still get the family together to share a pizza or some burgers and still give thanks for the company.