Thanksgiving food trends this year are spanning from traditional to acknowledging cultures and diverse dietary specifications. But whatever items consumers choose for the table this year, they can expect to pay a little more, as inflation has been impacting the cost of groceries and thus the cost of a Thanksgiving meal.
Update on food pricing
The all-items Consumer Price Index (CPI), a measure of economy-wide inflation, rose by 0.4% from July to August of this year and was up 3.7% from August 2022, according to the USDA Economic Research Service. The CPI for all food increased 0.2% from July to August of this year, and food prices were 4.3% higher than in August 2022. The grocery store or supermarket food purchases CPI increased 0.1% from July 2023 to August 2023 and was 3.0% higher than August 2022. This broader economic issue is putting upward pressure on food prices, making holiday meals even more expensive this year.
On a brighter note, turkey supply specifically has been on the road to recovery. The ongoing avian flu outbreak has had a significant impact turkey supplies last year. Particularly the H5N1 outbreak began in January 2022, prolonging almost 19 months and resulting in 800 confirmed detections, impacting nearly 59 million birds in commercial and backyard flocks, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. This outbreak caused significant supply concerns and record-high prices for turkeys and eggs during the holiday season last year, posing challenges for both consumers and farmers.
The HPAI situation has considerably improved compared to then, as the virus peaked in March 2022. 540 birds had been affected by September this year, a marked reduction from the 8.15 million birds affected in September 2022. It’s expected that prices for turkeys and eggs may stabilize in 2023 due to increased turkey production and lower average prices driven by growth in production.
Retail egg prices have also significantly decreased from their record highs in 2022, reflecting a more positive trend, the AFBF said. With the rebound in turkey and egg supplies, both farmers and consumers may be able to anticipate some relief in terms of turkey prices for Thanksgiving, as there is an abundance of turkeys and lower prices available.
But other Thanksgiving meal staples are expected to keep rising in price. In 2023, prices are predicted to increase for beef and veal (3.7%), other meats (4.1%), poultry (3.3%), fish and seafood (1%), dairy products (3.9%), fats and oils (9.2%), processed fruits and vegetables (8.6%), sugar and sweets (9.4%), cereals and bakery products (8.8%), nonalcoholic beverages (7.5%), and other foods (7.2%), the USDA ERS said. In the face of higher prices across the board, consumers can still find value by comparing prices and taking advantage of supermarket promotions.
A Thanksgiving recipe guide from food and cooking resource Epicurious provides recipes for turkey, potatoes, classic baked ham, stuffed squash, roasted carrots and cranberry sauce, suggesting Thanksgiving might be on the more traditional side this year. It also features menus from different eras, including 1990s and 1970s gourmet-inspired Thanksgiving.
However, it also includes dishes like gluten-free gravy and desserts, and vegetarian stuffing to cater to those with dietary needs. It offers dishes you can make without an oven.
It offers a selection of cocktails, non-alcoholic drinks and sangria to pair with your Thanksgiving feast and provides an extensive list of autumn dessert recipes, such as pumpkin pie, cakes, cookies and more. It also shares ideas for making the most of Thanksgiving leftovers.
Other trends you might see
Food trends for 2023 in general offer an exciting array of flavors and concepts that are likely to tantalize the American dinner table, according to The Wicked Noodle, even around Thanksgiving.
These are some of the culinary trends in 2023. From international BBQ to bold ingredients and sustainable food production, the world of food is continually evolving, offering diverse and innovative options to explore.
Mushrooms: Sustainable and locally-sourced ingredients continue to be a welcome trend, with specialty mushrooms like oyster and trumpet mushrooms gaining popularity in appetizers and main courses.
Butter boards: A viral sensation on TikTok, butter boards are wooden serving platters with a base of butter, allowing for endless topping combinations. High-quality butter is recommended, and toppings can range from roasted tomatoes to fig jam and more.
‘Swicy’ food: The fusion of sweet and spicy elements in dishes is gaining popularity, inspired by South Korean cuisine’s creative combinations. Hot honey, chili dark chocolate and spicy twists can be made on classics like hot chicken.
Tinned fish: A TikTok video trend known as “tinned fish date night” has led to an increase in canned mackerel, anchovies and sardines making their way into pizza and fish taco recipes. This trend is often referred to as “hot girl food.”
Yuzu fruit and spicy honey: Yuzu, a Japanese citrus fruit, and spicy honey are emerging as popular toppings and spreads. Yuzu is known for its unique flavor, and spicy honey has gained traction, particularly in the pizza industry.
Ube: Ube, a purple yam from the Philippines, is gaining popularity in both sweet and savory dishes. It offers a warm, vanilla-like flavor and has found its way into bakeries and gastropubs.
Curry: Curry offers endless varieties, making it a great choice for comfort food in colder seasons. Look out for Indian curry varieties like tikka masala, known for their mild and flavorful profiles.
Nostalgic food: Retro food and drinks are making a comeback, with TikTok and social media driving the resurgence of nostalgic dishes.
Functional food: Functional foods offer health benefits beyond nutritional value, including mood-boosting and gut-friendly options.
Olive oil coffee: Inspired by Starbucks’ Oleato Olive Oil Coffee, which was released in March this year in the U.S., adding olive oil to coffee is gaining attention. It offers a unique texture and potential health benefits, fitting well with Paleo and Keto diets.
Alcohol-free cocktails: Mocktails are becoming more popular, influenced by a growing interest in health.