GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Saving is the name of the game this Thanksgiving, but despite a slowing rate of food inflation, economy experts say that doesn’t necessarily mean grocery prices are down.

“The cost of groceries has been rising pretty significantly over the past couple of years and anyone that goes to the grocery store knows this,” David Ortega, Michigan State University associate professor and food economist, said.

This Thanksgiving, however, it appears we’re turning a corner. The overall cost of a 2023 Thanksgiving meal is down 4.5%, according to the Farm Bureau, but that’s still 25% higher than it was four years ago.

The good news is that customers will pay much less for the star of the show. Turkey costs are down 22% from last year.

“In the spring of 2022, we saw the start of what became the largest outbreak of bird flu or High-Path Avian Influenza which affected poultry markets, egg prices, and also turkeys,” Ortega explained.

Although not completely resolved, that outbreak slowed at the start of this year.

“We see production up of turkeys, of other poultry products so there’s plenty of supply out there this year compared to last year and that’s why we’re seeing prices come down for turkeys.”

Ortega said this is helping to offset the overall cost of dinner, but beyond the turkey is where shoppers might still notice higher costs.

“There are things that people can do to keep things affordable this Thanksgiving and holiday season,” he said. 

To maximize savings, Ortega recommends making a list first and seeing what you already have at home. Then, shop around for deals, choose fresh produce over processed, opt for store brands instead of national, and to avoid impulse buys, don’t shop when you’re hungry. 

News 8’s Brittany Flowers took his advice and shopped for all the items on the Farm Bureau’s “classic” Thanksgiving list to feed 10. The survey showed the classic feast would cost $61.17. The total for all the items at Meijer was $29.95. That’s less than half the average of the Farm Bureau’s survey, demonstrating that as Ortega said, there are ways to save your wallet this Thanksgiving.