Survey shows Independence Day cookout costs remain stable

By Christopher Heimerman For Illinois Press Association

A food spread of burgers, pork chops, chicken breast, potato salad and strawberries and ice cream is down a bit to 16 cents per person.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Go ahead and make it a double cheeseburger this Fourth of July. Each of those patties will cost you less than it would have a year ago, according to American Farm Bureau Federation analysis.

Surveys revealed that the average cost of 2 pounds of ground beef is $8.20, down 8 percent year-over-year. AFBF Economist Veronica Nigh attributed the price dive to the industry’s recovery from COVID-19’s disruptions at pork processing plants last year.

But buyer beware. The market hasn’t fully corrected.

“However, consumers looking a bit further back to compare prices are seeing higher prices for ground beef, pork chops and chicken breasts compared to pre-pandemic (2019) prices,” Nigh said. “That’s due to continued strong demand for American-grown beef and pork from both U.S. and international consumers.”

Other notable savings compared to last year are $1.90 for 2 pounds of pork and beans (down 13 percent), $4.69 for a half-gallon of vanilla ice cream (down 5 percent), and a 2-percent dip for 3 pounds of chops ($11.63) and 2 ½ quarts of lemonade ($3.65).

An entire spread of burgers, pork chops, chicken breast, potato salad and strawberries and ice cream is ever-so-slightly down 16 cents per person. And if you go a la carte, some products have seen a major hike. For instance, 2 pints of strawberries will cost you $5.30 – a 22 percent increase year-over-year.

Transportation, processing and packaging of farm-grown foods factor heavily into prices.

According to the (U.S.) Agriculture Department’s revised Food Dollar Series, farmers bank about 8 percent of every food marketing dollar. For highly processed foods such as bread and cereal, they get roughly 3 percent of the retail food dollar. For some fresh-market products, however, they take in as much as 35 percent.

The July 4th cookout survey is part of the Farm Bureau market basket series, which also includes the popular annual Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Survey. It 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.

This story was distributed through a cooperative project between Illinois Farm Bureau and the Illinois Press Association.