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The cost of a cookout for the 4th of July is close to a year ago

04 July 2021

New analysis from the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) finds that US consumers will pay just a few cents less for their favorite Independence Day cookout foods compared to last year, including cheeseburgers, pork chops, chicken breasts, homemade potato salad, strawberries and ice cream.

Farm Bureau analysis reveals the average cost of a summer cookout for 10 people remains affordable at $59.50, or less than $6 per person. The cost for the cookout is down just 16 cents (less than 1%) from last year, but 8% higher compared to 2019.

The largest year-to-year price increase was for strawberries. Survey results showed 2 pints of strawberries at $5.30, up 22% from last year, due to strong demand and the effects of several weather events including severe rain, hail and high winds that caused significant setbacks to the harvest early in 2021.

Retail price changes for products in the meat case are a bit more nuanced, according to AFBF Economist Veronica Nigh.

“Beef and pork processing plant disruptions that occurred in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic have been resolved, leading to lower retail ground beef and pork chop prices in 2021 compared to 2020,” Nigh said. “However, consumers looking a bit farther back to compare prices are seeing higher prices for ground beef, pork chops and chicken breasts compared to pre-pandemic (2019) prices. That’s due to continued strong demand for American-grown beef and pork from both US and international consumers.”

AFBF’s summer cookout menu consists of cheeseburgers, pork chops, chicken breasts, homemade potato salad, pork & beans, strawberries, potato chips and fresh-squeezed lemonade with ice cream and chocolate chip cookies for dessert.

The year-to-year direction of the marketbasket survey tracks closely with the federal government’s Consumer Price Index report for food at home. Both the index and the marketbasket remain relatively flat compared to year-ago levels.

The cost of transporting, processing and packaging farm-grown foods so they’re ready to be enjoyed on our tables is a major component of the total cost of the menu.

“According to the Agriculture Department’s revised Food Dollar Series, farmers currently receive approximately 8% of every food marketing dollar,” Nigh said. “The farmer’s share of the retail food dollar is as low as 2% to 4% for highly processed foods such as bread and cereal, and as much as 35% for some fresh-market products.”

The July 4th cookout survey is part of the Farm Bureau marketbasket series, which also includes the popular annual Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Survey of common food staples Americans use to prepare meals at home.

This year’s survey combines Bureau of Labor Statistics food price data with the results collected by more than 160 volunteer rural shoppers across the country and in Puerto Rico, including Farm Bureau members and others.



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