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Your Fourth of July cookout will cost you less this year, according to American Farm Bureau


By Vanessa Yurkevich, CNN

(CNN) — Good news for your Fourth of July cookout — it’s more affordable than last year. Families can expect to pay $67.73 for a party of 10, down 3% from last year’s record high, according to a survey from the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The cookout includes 12 staple items. Hamburger buns, beef and potato salad were up in price this year while chicken breast, lemonade and chocolate chip cookies saw price drops.

“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,” said Roger Cryan, chief economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation.

This year’s cookout cost is the second highest on record, following last year’s record setting number — $69.68 for a party of 10. The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), has been conducting the survey since 2013.

Most of the 12 basket items surveyed saw decreases this year. The biggest savings came from items that broke records last year like chicken. Cases of the avian flu, which swept the country earlier this year, have fallen, giving the chicken population time to recover. Two pounds of chicken breasts cost $8.14 on average, down 9% from last year. The biggest drop in price is for lemonade — down 16% from last year at $3.73 for 2 ½ quarts, the survey said.

The cost of beef was up 4% this year to $11.54 for 2 pounds due to the cost of feed for cattle and decreased herd size. Potato prices also rose because of poor growing weather, the Farm Bureau said. Potatoes were up 5% to $3.44 for 2 ½ pounds of homemade potato salad. One package of hamburger buns saw the highest increase at 17% — $2.26 for a pack.

“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,” said Cryan.

The cost of this year’s cookout is 14% higher than two years ago. The market basket also includes pork chops, cheese, pork and beans, potato chips, ice cream, and strawberries. The cookout breaks down to about $7 a person for a party of 10.

The Fourth of July Cookout survey is based on volunteer shoppers who checked prices at 240 stores in every state and Puerto Rico from June 1-8. The Consumer Price Index for groceries (food at home) in May shows an increase of 5.8% year over year. The AFBF looks at only those foods typically found at summer cookouts, the survey notes.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - Business/Consumer

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