US Christmas grocery prices rise, but not for seafood

A holiday meal.

The average price of Christmas dinner in the U.S. will be higher this year, but seafood won't be contributing to the bigger bill.

The price of purchasing Christmas dinner at a supermarket will be around 7 percent higher than in 2022, according to Idaho Falls, Idaho, U.S.A.-based research firm Category Partners, which looked at Nielsen IQ data for the 52 weeks through 2 December.

A basic Christmas dinner purchased from a supermarket for a family of four costs approximately UDS 50.56 (EUR 45.60) this season, compared to USD 47.25 (EUR 43) in 2022. Even with slowing inflation, prices are 18.5 percent higher than Christmas 2021.

However, there is good news for shoppers, as prices for parts of the Christmas meal have declined, led by a 1.7 percent year-over-year drop in inflation for fresh seafood.

"Consumers should be pleasantly surprised this season when shopping for their holiday meals in most of the fresh departments at their local supermarkets,” Category Partners CEO Tom Barnes said. “The slower-than-average inflation in the produce, meat, and seafood departments means consumers could be a little more merry this season."

Circana OmniMarket Integrated Fresh found that overall fresh seafood prices declined 2.4 percent in November 2023. Shellfish experienced the greatest price decline, falling 10.3 percent on average. Fresh crab prices fell 19.9 percent in November, and fresh shrimp prices fell 11 percent.

Category Partners found meat prices are up 2.4 percent for the year ending 2 December, produce prices have risen 2.2 percent, bakery prices rose 9.5 percent, and grocery department prices are up 10.5 percent.

The best way for consumers to navigate grocery inflation is to be selective when deciding specific items to include in their Christmas meal plans, according to Barnes. 

"Price increases vary dramatically by item, and consumers can reduce holiday food costs by being flexible,” he said.

For example, shoppers could choose beef brisket, which has realized a price decline of 1 percent compared to last year, instead of beef steak, which has had a price increase of 6.8 percent on average.

"Slowing food price inflation across the supermarket is good news for consumers,” Barnes said. "The data confirms that while prices remain elevated, the alarming food price inflation we saw two years ago has moderated.”

Photo courtesy of sebra/Shutterstock


Want seafood news sent to your inbox?

You may unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time. Diversified Communications | 121 Free Street, Portland, ME 04101 | +1 207-842-5500