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Cost of summer cookout reaches record high

Source: American Farm Bureau


WASHINGTON, DC - Families celebrating the 4th of July holiday will continue to find stubbornly high prices at the grocery store. An Independence Day cookout will cost $71.22 for 10 guests this year, based on the 2024 American Farm Bureau Federation annual marketbasket survey.


The grocery bill is up 5% from 2023, and almost 30% from just five years ago. A $7.12 per-person cost represents a record high since AFBF began the survey in 2013. The cookout favorites include cheeseburgers, chicken breasts, pork chops, homemade potato salad, strawberries and ice cream, among other products.




Meat prices have gone up significantly.

Image credit - Karolina Grabowska (CC0 license)



“Higher prices at the grocery store reflect a number of challenges facing America’s families. Lower availability of some cookout staples and inflation are hitting people in their wallets,” said AFBF Chief Economist Roger Cryan. “Farmers are also feeling the effects of high prices. They’re price takers, not price makers. Their share of the retail food dollar is just 15%, but they still pay elevated fuel, fertilizer and other supply prices.”


The marketbasket survey shows a year-to-year double-digit increase in the cost of beef and lemonade, while there are drops in the cost of chicken breasts and potato salad.


The retail price for 2 pounds of ground beef increased 11% to $12.77. Lemonade will cost $4.19, up 12% from 2023. Several factors influence these increases, which reflect the sort of challenges farmers face on a regular basis. Drought conditions in recent years forced ranchers to sell many of their cattle early last year, reducing the amount of beef available for the summer grilling season. Higher lemon prices can be attributed to citrus greening, which has spread to California after devastating Florida’s citrus industry.


Our survey found two exceptions to the price increases. Chicken is down 4% from last year, at $7.83 for 2 pounds. Potato salad is also 4% less expensive than last year, at $3.32. Chicken supplies have stabilized, and potato crops have recovered from the previous year’s poor weather.


Although historically high at $7.12 per person, when put in a global context, Americans dedicate a smaller percentage of their spending to food than any other country.


AFBF President Zippy Duvall said, “As we celebrate this nation’s independence, we also celebrate America’s food independence. And while all families in America are paying more for food than before, we still have one of the most affordable food supplies in the world. In the United States, we are blessed with the tools to grow the food, fiber and renewable fuel to meet the needs of every family across the country.


“The success of America’s farmers is due in part to partnerships in research, conservation and farm safety net programs that are made possible through a strong farm bill. It’s crucial that as we celebrate the holiday we also urge members of Congress to return to Washington and pass a new, modernized five-year farm bill. We cannot afford more delays and short-term extensions. Farmers, and every family in America, are relying on them to get the job done to ensure America continues to lead the world in agriculture.”


The federal government’s broader Consumer Price Index report for food at home shows an overall increase of 1% compared to a year ago. Farm Bureau’s informal marketbasket survey examines only those foods commonly associated with summer cookouts.


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 a holiday meal at home.


Volunteer shoppers across the country, including Farm Bureau members and others, collected data from stores in every state and Puerto Rico.


Individual Prices, AFBF 2024 Summer Cookout


2 pounds of ground beef, $12.77 (+11%)

2 pounds of chicken breasts, $7.83 (-4%)

3 pounds of pork chops, $15.49 (+8%)

1 pound of cheese, $3.57 (+1%)

1 package of hamburger buns, $2.41 (+7%)

2 ½ pounds of homemade potato salad, $3.32 (-4%)

32 ounces of pork and beans, $2.49 (+2%)

16 ounces of potato chips, $4.90 (+8%)

13-ounce package of chocolate chip cookies, $3.99 (+2%)

½ gallon of ice cream, $5.65 (+7%)

2 pints of strawberries, $4.61 (+1%)

2 ½ quarts of lemonade, $4.19 (+12%)


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