Barbecue Grill in the Backyard


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We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your Fourth of July cookout will still be pricey this year. According to a new report by the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), families will pay close to $70 for their cookout groceries.

Though prices have dipped slightly since hitting record highs in 2022, the AFBF says you can expect to spend around $67.73 on an Independence Day cookout for 10 people in 2023. That includes the usual classics: cheeseburgers, chicken breasts, pork chops, homemade potato salad, ice cream, and more. While the report estimates a 3% decrease from 2022, cookout prices are still approximately 14% higher compared to just two years ago. 

“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, says in the report. 

AFBF Summer 2023 Cookout Price EstimatePhoto credit: The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF)

Why Have Prices Gone Up?

According to the report, hosting a barbecue this year will hit your wallet harder than previous years due to rising costs for hamburger buns, beef, and potato salad. Factors such as drought conditions have increased feed costs and reduced cattle numbers, resulting in soaring beef prices. (Seriously, have you seen ground beef prices lately?) Rough weather conditions have also led to a dip in potato production, while rising inflation is causing processed food items like bread to go up in price. 

The report also found that other items, such as packaged hamburger buns, saw a hefty 17% price hike — buns now cost $2.26 for a pack of eight — while your homemade potato salad will run you $3.44, or 5% more than last year. Two pounds of ground beef have also inched up by 4% to $11.54. 

Meanwhile, the federal government’s broader Consumer Price Index report for June shows an overall food-at-home cost increase of 5.8% compared to last year. 

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Human hand adds salt to the steaks on the barbecuePhoto credit: fotojuwelier/istockphoto

A Silver (Sweet) Lining?

Yes, the numbers suck, but don't crumble just yet. The report found that cookies will cost 10% less this year, while chicken breasts and eggs — the latter of which had sky-high prices in the past year — have also dropped thanks to a reduction in avian flu cases. Lemons are also cheaper, making your lemonade 16% less pricey at $3.73.

While the price hikes may seem steep, the cost of a cookout still averages out to less than $7 per person. In the grand scheme of things, Americans spend less of their income on food than any other country, the report found. 

“While the increased costs are difficult and have made it more challenging for some families to put food on the table, it’s important to remember that America still has one of the most affordable food supplies in the world, which is due in part to strong farm bill programs," said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. "As we all celebrate the holiday, we encourage members of Congress to consider the contributions of the farm bill to our security and independence by ensuring a safe and abundant food supply.”

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