Fourth of July Cookout Costs Slightly Less This Year, Still More Expensive Than Two Years Ago

Americans planning to celebrate this Fourth of July with a cookout can expect to pay slightly less than they did last year, according to an annual survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), the nation’s largest general farm organization. According to this year’s estimate, families will pay on average $67.73 for groceries to feed 10 people at their Independence Day cookout. That’s a 3 percent, or a few bucks drop from last year’s record high price of $69.68, which came amid the worst inflation in the United States in more than four decades. While the cost of an average cookout is down slightly, it’s still 14 percent higher than it was two years ago, and the second highest since 2013, when the AFBF started to track price tags of the summer cookout staples. The cookout favorites include cheeseburgers, chicken breasts, pork chops, homemade potato salad, strawberries, and ice cream, among other items. In this year’s survey, the AFBF said the prices of hamburger buns, beef, and potato salad all went up; while chicken breast, lemonade, and chocolate chip cookies saw price drops. For instance, the cost of a package of hamburger buns now stands at $2.26, 17 percent higher than in 2022. The cost of beef was up 4 percent this year to $11.54 for 2 pounds, while potatoes were up 5 percent to $3.44 for 2 and a half pounds of homemade potato salad. “Drought conditions have increased the cost of feed and reduced the number of available cattle for the summer grilling season, driving up beef prices,” the AFBF explained. “Higher potato prices can be attributed to poor weather leading to a drop in production, and general inflation is driving up the price of processed foods like bread.” At the same time, the price of two pounds of chicken breast is now $8.14, a 9 percent drop from 2022. Lemonade is 16 percent less expensive. Chocolate chip cookies have also retreated by 10 percent to $3.90 for a box of 13 ounces. Egg prices have also plunged in recent months after exploding last year due to outbreaks of the bird flu that prompted farmers across the nation to put down their entire flocks. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of November 2022, more than 49 million birds in 46 states have either died as a result of bird flu virus infection or have been killed due to exposure to infected birds. “The slight downward direction in the cost of a cookout doesn’t counter the dramatic increases we’ve seen over the past few years. Families are still feeling the pinch of high inflation along with other factors keeping prices high,” said Roger Cryan, the AFBF’s chief economist. Cryan also noted that, just because food prices remain high, it doesn’t necessarily mean that farmers get to earn more. “Don’t assume farmers come out as winners from higher prices at the grocery store either. They’re price takers, not price makers, whose share of the retail food dollar is just 14 percent,” he added. “Farmers have to pay for fuel, fertilizer and other expenses, which have all gone up in cost.” The Fourth of July Cookout survey is based on prices recorded by volunteer shoppers at 240 stores in every state and Puerto Rico from June 1 to 8. The AFBF said it only looked at those foods commonly associated with summer cookouts. The latest report by the federal government shows that inflation has come down peaking at 9.1 percent last June, with the Consumer Price Index climbing to an annual rate of 4 percent this May. The Consumer Price Index for groceries in May shows an increase of 5.8 percent year over year. When excluding volatile food and energy prices, the “core” inflation was 5.3 percent for the 12 months ended in May.

Fourth of July Cookout Costs Slightly Less This Year, Still More Expensive Than Two Years Ago

Americans planning to celebrate this Fourth of July with a cookout can expect to pay slightly less than they did last year, according to an annual survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), the nation’s largest general farm organization.

According to this year’s estimate, families will pay on average $67.73 for groceries to feed 10 people at their Independence Day cookout. That’s a 3 percent, or a few bucks drop from last year’s record high price of $69.68, which came amid the worst inflation in the United States in more than four decades.

While the cost of an average cookout is down slightly, it’s still 14 percent higher than it was two years ago, and the second highest since 2013, when the AFBF started to track price tags of the summer cookout staples.

The cookout favorites include cheeseburgers, chicken breasts, pork chops, homemade potato salad, strawberries, and ice cream, among other items. In this year’s survey, the AFBF said the prices of hamburger buns, beef, and potato salad all went up; while chicken breast, lemonade, and chocolate chip cookies saw price drops.

For instance, the cost of a package of hamburger buns now stands at $2.26, 17 percent higher than in 2022. The cost of beef was up 4 percent this year to $11.54 for 2 pounds, while potatoes were up 5 percent to $3.44 for 2 and a half pounds of homemade potato salad.

“Drought conditions have increased the cost of feed and reduced the number of available cattle for the summer grilling season, driving up beef prices,” the AFBF explained. “Higher potato prices can be attributed to poor weather leading to a drop in production, and general inflation is driving up the price of processed foods like bread.”

At the same time, the price of two pounds of chicken breast is now $8.14, a 9 percent drop from 2022. Lemonade is 16 percent less expensive. Chocolate chip cookies have also retreated by 10 percent to $3.90 for a box of 13 ounces.

Egg prices have also plunged in recent months after exploding last year due to outbreaks of the bird flu that prompted farmers across the nation to put down their entire flocks. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of November 2022, more than 49 million birds in 46 states have either died as a result of bird flu virus infection or have been killed due to exposure to infected birds.

“The slight downward direction in the cost of a cookout doesn’t counter the dramatic increases we’ve seen over the past few years. Families are still feeling the pinch of high inflation along with other factors keeping prices high,” said Roger Cryan, the AFBF’s chief economist.

Cryan also noted that, just because food prices remain high, it doesn’t necessarily mean that farmers get to earn more.

“Don’t assume farmers come out as winners from higher prices at the grocery store either. They’re price takers, not price makers, whose share of the retail food dollar is just 14 percent,” he added. “Farmers have to pay for fuel, fertilizer and other expenses, which have all gone up in cost.”

The Fourth of July Cookout survey is based on prices recorded by volunteer shoppers at 240 stores in every state and Puerto Rico from June 1 to 8. The AFBF said it only looked at those foods commonly associated with summer cookouts.

The latest report by the federal government shows that inflation has come down peaking at 9.1 percent last June, with the Consumer Price Index climbing to an annual rate of 4 percent this May. The Consumer Price Index for groceries in May shows an increase of 5.8 percent year over year. When excluding volatile food and energy prices, the “core” inflation was 5.3 percent for the 12 months ended in May.