Gather Round the Table: Associations Highlight Thanksgiving Trends

From the cost of the meal to how it’s cooked, associations and trade groups are helping to draw attention to the holiday’s shifting nature. Don’t let the tryptophans knock you out this week.

There’s an association for everything—including for the Thanksgiving meal that you’re likely to partake in Thursday.

In fact, some of those associations might even reframe the way you think about how you make your turkey, how much you spend on mashed potatoes and stuffing, and even where you end up getting your meal.

As you prep your Thanksgiving meal this week, check out a few turkey-related thoughts from the association space:

Is the average Thanksgiving dinner getting cheaper? If you feel like buying all the parts of a good Thanksgiving meal has been a little less expensive this year, you’re not alone. The American Farm Bureau Federation says that, overall, the cost of feeding 10 people a Thanksgiving meal is at its lowest level in five years, a rate of $49.12. That’s down 75 cents from a year ago and reflects a rare dip in a cost that has steadily risen in the 32 years AFBF has put together its Thanksgiving Dinner Price Survey. Accounting for inflation, in fact, the cost has fallen to its lowest level since 2010. “Even as America’s family farmers and ranchers continue to face economic challenges, they remain committed to providing a safe, abundant, and affordable food supply for consumers at Thanksgiving and throughout the year,” AFBF Director of Market Intelligence Dr. John Newton said in a news release.

Some folks aren’t afraid to go out. Most people enjoy turkey and stuffing at home, but not everyone does. In fact, the National Restaurant Association reports that 9 percent of adults surveyed will eat their Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant. (Roughly a third of those go to a restaurant that they traditionally go to on Thanksgiving.) Additionally, the association reports that 13 percent of adults will supplement part or all of their home-served Thanksgiving meals with elements produced by a restaurant.

Think beyond the oven. Just because most people bake their turkeys doesn’t mean you have to follow the crowd. In fact, some people prefer to grill or smoke part of their Turkey Day feast outside instead—an estimated 14 percent of grill owners, according to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association. The association recently offered a variety of suggestions for maximizing the smoked turkey experience, with BBQ pros giving preparation ideas (consider brining the turkey), food safety steps to take (don’t use a pre-stuffed turkey), and tips for carving the turkey (let it sit around a little bit). The association also recommends that, if you plan to deep-fry a turkey, you take steps to protect yourself. (It’s worth noting that the National Fire Protection Association discourages the use of outdoor turkey fryers.)

(LauriPatterson/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a senior editor for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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