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06/29/2021

July 4th Cookout Will Be Affordable: Farm Bureau

Organization breaks down price increases, decreases for popular menu items
Marian Zboraj
Digital Editor
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July 4th Cookout Will be Affordable: Farm Bureau
According to the Farm Bureau, U.S. consumers can enjoy this Independence Day without major price hikes on popular cookout foods.

With talk of food inflation running rampant, consumers will be relieved to hear that they won’t have to shell out big bucks for this year’s Fourth of July cookout foods, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. Farm Bureau analysis reveals that the average cost of a summer cookout for 10 people is approximately $59.50, or less than $6 per person.

The agency examined the following popular cookout foods for its 2021 July 4th cookout survey: cheeseburgers, pork chops, chicken breasts, homemade potato salad, pork and beans, strawberries, potato chips, fresh-squeezed lemonade, and vanilla ice cream with chocolate chip cookies for dessert.

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 Farm Bureau 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 U.S. and international consumers."

Here's a breakdown of individual prices for the Farm Bureau’s 2021 cookout menu:

  • 2 pints of strawberries, $5.30 (up 22%)
  • 13-ounce bag of chocolate chip cookies, $4.02 (up 11%)
  • Eight hamburger buns, $1.66 (up 6%)
  • 2.5 pounds of homemade potato salad, $2.75 (up 3%)
  • 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, $6.74 (up 1%)
  • 32 ounces of pork and beans, $1.90 (down 13%)
  • 2 pounds of ground beef, $8.20 (down 8%)
  • Half-gallon of vanilla ice cream, $4.69 (down 5%)
  • 3 pounds of center-cut pork chops, $11.63 (down 2%)
  • 2.5 quarts of fresh-squeezed lemonade, $3.65 (down 2%)
  • 1 pound of sliced cheese, $4.05 (down 1%)
  • 13-ounce bag of potato chips, $4.93 (down 1%)

The cost of transporting, processing and packaging farm-grown foods 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's Marketbasket series, which also includes the annual Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Survey of common food staples that Americans use to prepare meals at home. This year’s July 4th 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.

The Washington D.C.-based Farm Bureau is the nation's largest general farm organization, with member families in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

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