Celebrating the Fourth of July with a cookout will cost significantly more than two years ago, although prices have fallen slightly from record highs in 2022. Families will pay an average of $67.73 to host an Independence Day cookout with 10 family members or friends, based on the 2023 American Farm Bureau Federation market basket survey.
The $67.73 grocery bill is down 3 percent from 2022 but still approximately 14 percent higher than prices were just two years ago. Last year set a record high since AFBF began the survey in 2013, and 2023 comes in as the second-highest cost. The cookout favorites include cheeseburgers, chicken breasts, pork chops, homemade potato salad, strawberries, and ice cream, among other products.
“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 and other factors keeping prices high,” said AFBF Chief Economist Roger Cryan. “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. Farmers have to pay for fuel, fertilizer, and other expenses, which have all gone up in cost.”
The market basket survey shows a year-to-year increase in the cost of hamburger buns, beef, and potato salad, while there are drops in the cost of chicken breasts, lemonade, and cookies.
The retail price for a package of eight hamburger buns increased 17 percent to $2.26. Homemade potato salad will cost $3.44, up 5 percent from 2022. The cost of 2 pounds of ground beef rose 4 percent to $11.54.
Several factors influence the increases. Drought conditions have increased the feed cost and reduced the number of available cattle for the summer grilling season, driving up beef prices. Higher potato prices can be attributed to poor weather leading to a drop in production, and general inflation is driving up the cost of processed foods like bread.
Our survey found one exception to the increased price of processed foods. A package of cookies will cost 10 percent less than in 2022. The price of chicken breasts and eggs, which had reached record-high prices in 2022, are both lower. This is good news as the number of avian influenza cases has fallen, allowing chicken populations to recover. Lemonade is 16% less expensive, at $3.73, due to a drop in the cost of lemons.
Although historically high, the cost of the cookout breaks down to less than $7 per person. When put in a global context, Americans spend a smaller percentage of their income on food than any other country.
AFBF President Zippy Duvall said, “While the increased costs are difficult and have made it more challenging for some families to put food on the table, it’s important to remember that America still has one of the most affordable food supplies in the world, which is due in part to strong farm bill programs. As we all celebrate the holiday, we encourage members of Congress to consider the contributions of the farm bill to our security and independence by ensuring a safe and abundant food supply.”
The federal government’s broader Consumer Price Index report for food at home shows an overall increase of 5.8 percent compared to a year ago. Farm Bureau’s informal market basket survey examines only those foods commonly associated with summer cookouts.
The July 4th cookout survey is part of the Farm Bureau market basket series, including the popular annual Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Survey of typical food staples Americans use to prepare meals at home.
Volunteer shoppers nationwide, including Farm Bureau members and others, collected data from 240 stores in every state and Puerto Rico.
Individual Prices, AFBF 2023 Summer Cookout
- 2 pounds of ground beef, $11.54 (+4%)
- 2 pounds of chicken breasts, $8.14 (-9%)
- 3 pounds of pork chops, $14.37 (-6%)
- 1 pound of cheese, $3.53 (no change)
- 1 package of hamburger buns, $2.26 (+17%)
- 2 ½ pounds of homemade potato salad, $3.44 (+5%)
- 32 ounces of pork and beans, $2.44 (-3%)
- 16-ounce bag of potato chips, $4.53 (-4%)
- 13-ounce package of chocolate chip cookies, $3.90 (-10%)
- ½ gallon of ice cream, $5.29 (+3%)
- 2 pints of strawberries, $4.56 (+3%)
- 2 ½ quarts of lemonade, $3.73 (-16%)
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Author: Heidi Crnkovic