AFBF: July 4th cookouts remain affordable

A cookout for July 4th remains affordable according to the latest American Farm Bureau marketbasket survey.

John Newton, AFBF’s chief economist, says the informal survey shows the cost of food items for a summer cookout for 10 people was nearly $53.

He tells Brownfield the price is comparable to the prices seen in the past five years.

“That’s because commodity prices have been relatively stable,” he says. “We have several record crops and livestock production. Milk, beef, and pork have hit records in recent years and so that helps to make food very affordable for the U.S. consumer.”

AFBF’s summer cookout menu includes hot dogs, cheeseburgers, buns, pork spare ribs, deli potato salad, baked beans, corn chips, lemonade, ketchup, mustard, and watermelon.

Ground beef prices were higher, while pork spare rib prices were lower.

“The strong US economy has led to increased domestic demand for beef and hamburgers,” he says. “…I think the competition in the meat case and additional production of pork has helped make ribs a little bit more affordable.”

Newton says the survey also showed that the items cost more money when purchased online instead of in the store.  

“The same ingredients for the were about 38% higher, nearly $70, to have that Fourth of July cookout using online services,” he says.

New this year, AFBF tracked the average cost of 1.5 quarts of vanilla ice cream. Newton says the average price was $3.58 and they’ll continue to track ice cream in the future.

Newton says the survey shows how lucky US consumers are to have access to an affordable and high-quality food supply year-round.

“We have that luxury as Americans and I think we need to be thankful this holiday season because not a lot of people around the world have that luxury,” he says. “I think at times we forget that, and we need to thank the farmers and ranchers who are there raising that product.”

A total of 114 Farm Bureau members in 34 states served as volunteer shoppers, checking retail prices for July 4th cookout foods at their local grocery stores.

The July 4th cookout survey is part of the AFBF marketbasket series, which also includes the Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Survey.

Audio: John Newton, American Farm Bureau

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