Thanksgiving Leftovers: Waste Not, Want Not
Business + Economy

Thanksgiving Leftovers: Waste Not, Want Not

The turkey’s been carved, eaten and enjoyed – but there are still scraps to be enjoyed and ways to stretch the family dollar far beyond the actual day of our Thanksgiving celebrations.

Turkey sandwich, anyone? Or for those non-bread eaters, how about a fabulous cobb salad with chopped turkey? (That gets my vote.)


These and many other great foods are the perfect way to waste not and want not after forking over cold hard cash for a delicious hot meal. In a new survey this year, the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) found that the average cost of this year’s Turkey Day feast for a gathering of 10 was about $49.48, or a 28-cent price increase from last year’s average of $49.20. It was about a one percent increase over the average cost of last year’s meal.

The AFBF has been doing an informal price survey of traditional items on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table every year since 1986. This year its shopping list included turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, carrots, celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and beverages of coffee and milk, enough to serve a family of 10.

“Most Americans [will have paid] about the same as last year at the grocery store for a turkey and all the trimmings,” said John Anderson, AFBF’s deputy chief economist. “A slight increase in demand for turkey was responsible for the moderate price increase our shoppers reported for the bird.” Due to the drought of this past summer, turkey farmers also saw higher grain costs.

The meal’s big-ticket item — a 16-pound turkey — clocked in at $22.23 this year. That’s about $1.39 per pound, an increase of about 4 cents per pound, or a total of 66 cents per whole turkey compared to 2011. That’s a three percent jump.
“The whole bird was the biggest contributor to the final total, showing the largest price increase compared to last year,” Farm and Dairy reports.

Of course, jump in price or no jump, we cook and consume more than 45 million turkeys in the U.S. at Thanksgiving, according to the Department of Agriculture. That’s about one sixth of the total turkeys sold each year. (No estimate on the total number of turkey sandwiches that are being made or eaten as we speak.)

Click here for our photo gallery on how to stretch the Thanksgiving costs and celebrations – and keep eating well.