Fourth of July cookout to cost consumers more this year

Consumers in Texas and across the country will pay more for a Fourth of July cookout, according to a recent American Farm Bureau Federation marketbasket survey.

The national average cost of a summer cookout for 10 people is $69.68, which breaks down to less than $7 per person. The overall cost for the cookout is up 17 percent or about $10 from last year, a result of ongoing supply chain disruptions, inflation and the war in Ukraine.

The average cost for the same ingredients is $63.68 for consumers shopping in Texas. That breaks down to $6.37 per person.

Just like the people they grow food for, farmers and ranchers are feeling the price-point pain, too.

“Supply chain disruptions and inflation have made the cost to farm more expensive,” Texas Farm Bureau President Russell Boening said. “Farmers and ranchers are price-takers, not price-makers. We are not making more money due to these higher grocery prices, and we are not passing our increased costs of production onto the consumer.”

AFBF economists also pointed to the cascading effects of the war in Ukraine, as that country’s contributions to global food security are cut off, Russian and Belarusian fertilizer exports are constrained, and some other countries pull back exports to protect their domestic supplies.

The marketbasket survey shows the largest year-to-year price increase was for ground beef.

National survey results showed the retail price for 2 pounds of ground beef at $11.12, up 36 percent from last year. Meanwhile, the Agriculture Department’s Producer Price Index indicates that compared to a year ago, farm-level cattle prices are up 17.5 percent, but wholesale beef prices are down 14 percent. This serves to highlight the differences between farm-level, wholesale and retail beef prices and how the events of the last few years have had significant impacts on the beef production and cattle pricing cycles, making them all hard to predict.

Several other foods in the survey, including chicken breasts, pork chops, homemade potato salad, fresh-squeezed lemonade, pork & beans, hamburger buns and cookies, also increased in price.

One bright spot for consumers is the average retail price for strawberries, which declined by 86 cents compared to a year ago. Sliced cheese and potato chips also dropped in price, 48 cents and 22 cents, respectively. Better weather conditions in some fruit-growing regions and greater retailer pricing flexibility for processed products are the likely drivers behind the modest price declines for these items. 

The year-to-year direction of the marketbasket survey tracks with the federal government’s Consumer Price Index report for food at home and general inflation across the economy. Both the index and the marketbasket show increases of more than 10 percent compared to year-ago levels.

“According to the Agriculture Department’s revised Food Dollar Series, farmers currently receive approximately 8 percent of every food marketing dollar,” AFBF Chief Economist Roger Cryan said. “The farmers’ share of the retail food dollar is as low as 2 to 4 percent for highly processed foods such as bread and cereal, and can be 35 percent or more for some fresh products.”

The Fourth of July 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 meals at home.

Data for this year’s survey was collected by 176 volunteer shoppers across the country and in Puerto Rico, including Farm Bureau members and others.

Individual Prices, AFBF 2022 Summer Cookout

  • 2 pounds of ground beef, $11.12 (+36 percent)
  • 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, $8.99 (+33 percent)
  • 32 ounces of pork & beans, $2.53 (+33 percent)
  • 3 pounds of center cut pork chops, $15.26 (+31 percent)
  • 5 quarts of fresh-squeezed lemonade, $4.43 (+22 percent)
  • 5 pounds of homemade potato salad, $3.27 (+19 percent)
  • 8 hamburger buns, $1.93 (+16 percent)
  • Half-gallon of vanilla ice cream, $5.16 (+10 percent)
  • 13-ounce bag of chocolate chip cookies, $4.31 (+7 percent)
  • 2 pints of strawberries, $4.44 (-16 percent)
  • 1 pound of sliced cheese, $3.53 (-13 percent)
  • 16-ounce bag of potato chips, $4.71 (-4 percent)

From the Texas Farm Bureau

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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