July 4th Cookout Cost Reaches ‘Record High’ Due to Inflation, Farm Bureau Says

Jack Phillips
By Jack Phillips
July 4, 2024US News
July 4th Cookout Cost Reaches ‘Record High’ Due to Inflation, Farm Bureau Says
People shop in a supermarket, in this file photo. (Susan Mortimer/The Epoch Times)

The average cost for a Fourth of July cookout has increased in 2024 to a “record high,” in part because of higher inflation, according to a survey released on June 27 by the American Farm Bureau Federation.

An Independence Day cookout for 10 people will cost 5 percent more than last year, according to the farmer and rancher group. In 2023, the average cost was $67.73, but in 2024, it will cost an average of $71.22, the group found.

The overall U.S. consumer price index has been trending lower in recent months, but many Americans remain worried about inflation.

The Farm Bureau survey found that the retail price for 2 pounds of ground beef has increased by 11 percent to $12.77, and 3 pounds of pork chops has increased by 8 percent to $15.49. However, it found that chicken prices have fallen by about 4 percent from last year, to $7.83 for 2 pounds of chicken breasts.

“Combined, the chicken breasts, pork chops, and hamburger meat account for over 50 percent of the cost of the summer cookout, showing how much the meat case influences the overall cost of the cookout,” the bureau stated.

A number of other products—including hamburger buns, potato chips, cheese, ice cream, lemonade, and strawberries—have increased in price. The only other item to see a decline was “homemade potato salad,” which decreased by 4 percent.

“Higher prices at the grocery store reflect a number of challenges facing America’s families. Lower availability of some cookout staples and inflation are hitting people in their wallets,” American Farm Bureau Chief Economist Roger Cryan said in a statement.

“Farmers are also feeling the effects of high prices. They’re price takers, not price makers. Their share of the retail food dollar is just 15 percent, but they still pay elevated fuel, fertilizer, and other supply prices.”

The cost of the Fourth of July meal had slightly decreased in 2023 from 2022, according to a Farm Bureau survey, which found that 2023’s average cookout cost was down by about 3 percent to $67.73, from an average of $69.68 in 2022.

The Farm Bureau’s survey is not the only one indicating that the annual holiday meal is getting more expensive. According to a report by Rabobank released on June 26, the average cost of a cookout for 10 people will top $99, up from $97 last year, with beverages and beef being the most expensive items.

Labor Department data released earlier in June showed that the consumer price index for May had increased by 3.3 percent year over year, compared with the 4 percent year-over-year increase seen in May 2023.

Despite the relatively lower inflation numbers, Americans have cited its effect on the economy as one of their top concerns heading into the election in a number of recent polls.

Inflation peaked at 8.9 percent in June 2022, which sparked the Federal Reserve to initiate a series of rate hikes, raising the benchmark rates to 5.25 percent–5.5 percent from 0.25 percent–0.5 percent in less than two years, according to the U.S. central bank.

There has been widespread speculation from financial analysts that the Fed could start cutting rates in the coming months as inflationary pressures appear to cool down.

Responding to that speculation, Federal Reserve Gov. Michelle Bowman said earlier this week that now is not the time to start lowering interest rates. Instead, the central bank could raise them even further, she suggested.

“Should the incoming data indicate that inflation is moving sustainably toward our 2 percent goal, it will eventually become appropriate to gradually lower the federal funds rate to prevent monetary policy from becoming overly restrictive,” Ms. Bowman said during a speech in London. “However, we are still not yet at the point where it is appropriate to lower the policy rate.”

During the Federal Open Market Committee meeting in mid-June, the central bank kept the rates unchanged.

“Inflation has eased over the past year but remains elevated,” the committee’s statement reads. “In recent months, there has been modest further progress toward the Committee’s 2 percent inflation objective.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times