July 4th cookout cost reaches ‘record high’ due to inflation, Farm Bureau says 

A survey released Thursday by the U.S. Farm Bureau reports the cost of a Fourth of July cookout has hit an all-time high in 2024. Photo by Susan Mortimer
A survey released Thursday by the U.S. Farm Bureau reports the cost of a Fourth of July cookout has hit an all-time high in 2024. Photo by Susan Mortimer

By Jack Phillips 
Contributing Writer 

The average cost for a Fourth of July cookout has increased in 2024 to a “record high,” in part due to higher inflation, according to a survey released Thursday by the U.S. Farm Bureau. 

The farmer and rancher group said an Independence Day cookout for 10 people will be 5% higher than last year. In 2023, the cost averaged out to be $67.73, but in 2024, it will cost $71.22, it 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 showed the retail price for 2 pounds of ground beef increasing by 11% to $12.77, and pork chops increasing by 8% to $15.49. But it found that chicken prices fell about 4% from last year, at $7.83 for 2 pounds. 

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

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%. 

“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,” Farm Bureau chief economist Roger Cryan said in a news release. 

“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%, 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 about 3% to $67.73. In 2022, the average cost stood at $69.68. 

The Farm Bureau’s survey is not the only one indicating the annual holiday meal is getting more expensive. A report by international bank Rabobank said on Wednesday that the average cost of a cookout for 10 people would top $99, up from $97 last year, with beverages and beef the most expensive items. 

Labor Department data released earlier in June showed that the CPI remained 3.3% over May 2023’s numbers. This was a decline from April’s 0.3% month-over-month increase. 

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

Meanwhile, inflation peaked at 8.9% in June 2022, which sparked the Federal Reserve to initiate a series of hikes, raising the benchmark rates from 0.25 to 0.50% to 5.25 to 5.50% in under 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, she suggested that the central bank could raise them even further. 

“Should the incoming data indicate that inflation is moving sustainably toward our 2% goal, it will eventually become appropriate to gradually lower the federal funds rate to prevent monetary policy from becoming overly restrictive,” 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 previous 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, adding, “In recent months, there has been modest further progress toward the Committee’s 2% inflation objective.” 

Reuters contributed to this report. 

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