Cost of July 4th cookout decreases this year: Still under $6 per person

Courtesy, American Farm Bureau Federation

WASHINGTON, D.C., – A Fourth of July cookout of Americans’ favorite foods including hot dogs, cheeseburgers, pork spare ribs, potato salad, baked beans, lemonade and chocolate milk will cost slightly less this year and still comes in at less than $6 per person, says the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Farm Bureau’s informal survey reveals the average cost for a summer cookout for 10 is $55.84, or $5.58 per person. That’s about a three percent decrease compared to a year ago.

“Based on our survey, food prices overall appear to be fairly stable,” said John Anderson, deputy chief economist at AFBF. “Prices for beef have continued to increase this year, but prices for other meats are generally declining. Dairy product prices are also quite a bit lower.”

The latest retail meat price data for May shows Choice beef prices at $6.41 per pound, up one cent from April and 8.4 percent higher than one year ago.

However, the AFBF data shows that those prices might be leveling off.

“Meat production is starting to increase substantially,” Anderson said. “Beef prices have started to stabilize but have not declined yet. On the other hand, retail pork prices have been declining all year.”

Energy is an important component of the final price for these products.

“Fuel and other energy prices have also generally been lower so far this year compared to last year,” Anderson said. “This helps keep prices down on the more processed items in the basket.”

AFBF’s summer cookout menu for 10 consists of hot dogs and buns, cheeseburgers and buns, pork spare ribs, deli potato salad, baked beans, corn chips, lemonade, chocolate milk, watermelon for dessert, and ketchup and mustard.

A total of 88 Farm Bureau members (volunteer shoppers) in 30 states checked retail prices for summer cookout foods at their local grocery stores for this informal survey.

“As a nation, we continue to enjoy a consistent, high-quality supply of meats and poultry at prices that are remarkably affordable for most consumers,” Anderson said.

The summer cookout survey is part of the Farm Bureau Marketbasket series which also includes the popular annual Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Survey and two “everyday” Marketbasket surveys on common food staples Americans use to prepare meals at home. A squad of Farm Bureau members across the nation checks retail prices at local grocery stores for the surveys. AFBF published its first Marketbasket survey in 1986.

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AFBF is the nation’s largest general farm organization with member families in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

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