Burnt meat or burnt wallets? Fourth of July cookouts facing all-time high prices

·2 min read

Jul. 1—The prices of those burgers on the grill and a scoop of potato salad are exploding like a firecracker.

Based on a survey conducted by the Minnesota Farm Bureau, prices for popular Fourth of July food items are up 17% from a year ago. The Farm Bureau estimates that those looking to cookout this summer will spend $69.68 on average for a group of 10 people with popular cookout foods such as burgers, chicken breasts, potato salad, fruit and ice cream.

"Grocery prices aren't deterring us from getting together," said Rochester resident Kristine Welper, who plans to host a cookout with her family and neighbors this weekend. "A potluck is our best option to share the burden of rising food prices so everyone can bring something for themselves and others to avoid over-spending."

The American Farm Bureau Federation has also released data on how much prices have increased on these items from a year ago. For example, two pounds of ground beef currently cost $11.12, up 36% from July 2021. Two pounds of groundless chicken breasts cost $8.99, up 33%, and two and a half pounds of potato salad costs $3.27, up 19% from July 2021.

The only food items down in average price from a year ago are two-pint strawberry packages costing $4.44, down 16% and 16-ounce bags of potato chips costing $4.71, down 4% from July 2021.

Compared to other parts of the country, Midwesterners are still paying the lowest cost on average for Fourth of July cookout food.

Based on data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Cookout News. Midwestern states are paying $73.81 on average while West Coast states are paying the highest on average at $82.77 for a traditional Fourth of July cookout for 10 people.

According to Roger Cryan, chief economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation, the increase of prices is directly correlated with inflation and supply chain issues that are only being further backlogged due to one of the largest grain producers in the world, Ukraine, being under attack by the government of Vladimir Putin.

Cryan said while prices for popular foods are going up, farmers aren't necessarily cashing in on the increase.

"The most up-to-date Food Dollar Series by the Ag Department has shown farmers currently receive 8% of every food marketing dollar," Cryan said. "The farmers' share of the retail food dollar is as low as 2% to 4% for highly processed foods such as bread and cereal, and can be 35% or more for some fresh products. Despite higher food prices, the supply chain disruptions and inflation have made farm supplies more expensive. Like consumers, farmers are price-takers not price-makers."

Even though the prices are at all-time high for these popular cookout foods, it is not keeping many from canceling their annual 4th of July plans this year.