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Summer cookout food costs only slightly down, new survey finds

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(NEW YORK) — The average cost of a 4th of July cookout is slightly down, but families are still feeling the pinch of inflation and other cost catalysts on groceries.

According to The American Farm Bureau’s annual marketbasket survey, the average cost for a 4th of July cookout will cost about $67.73 to feed 10 people, down just 3% or $2.27 per person from last year.

Although the organization’s survey indicates that prices have decreased slightly from the record highs of 2022, the cost of a holiday weekend cookout is still up significantly from 2021 with the grocery bill approximately 14% higher than prices from that time.

2023 comes in as the second-highest cost breakdown in a decade, since AFBF began the survey in 2013.

Cookout favorites that shoppers purchased for the survey included cheeseburgers, chicken breasts, pork chops, homemade potato salad, strawberries and ice cream, among other products.

“The slight downward direction in the cost of a cookout doesn’t counter the dramatic increases we’ve seen over the past few years. Families are still feeling the pinch of high inflation along with other factors keeping prices high,” AFBF Chief Economist Roger Cryan said. “Don’t assume farmers come out as winners from higher prices at the grocery store either. They’re price takers, not price makers, whose share of the retail food dollar is just 14%. Farmers have to pay for fuel, fertilizer and other expenses, which have all gone up in cost.”

The AFBF also pointed to a year-to-year increase in the cost of hamburger buns, which are up 17%, ground beef prices for 2 pounds rose 4%, and homemade potato salad will cost 5% more than last year.

The federation said a number of factors are to blame for those rising prices, including drought conditions that sent the cost of animal feed higher and reduced the number of cattle available. Plus, potato production is down due to poor weather, so consumer spending on spuds will be up for everything from fries to side dishes.

But the survey did find some drops in the cost of chicken breasts, lemonade and cookies.

Thanks to a reduced number of avian flu cases, that plagued the record-high poultry prices in 2022, chicken breasts and eggs are both lower this year.

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