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Cost of summer cookout down slightly from 10-year high

Guest Editorial
American Farm Bureau

A summer cookout costs significantly more than two years ago but slightly less than record highs in 2022. Families now pay $67.73 to host a cookout for 10, based on the 2023 American Farm Bureau Federation market basket survey.
The $67.73 grocery bill is down 3 percent from 2022, but still approximately 14 percent higher than prices were just two years ago.
The cookout favorites include cheeseburgers, chicken breasts, pork chops, homemade potato salad, strawberries and ice cream, among other products.
AFBF Chief Economist Roger Cryan said farmers aren’t necessarily the winners of these higher prices at the grocery store.
“They’re price takers, not price makers, whose share of the retail food dollar is just 14 percent,” Cryan said.
“Farmers have to pay for fuel, fertilizer and other expenses, which have all gone up in cost.”
The market basket survey shows a year-to-year increase in the cost of hamburger buns, beef and potato salad, while there are drops in the cost of chicken breasts, lemonade and cookies.
The retail price for a package of eight hamburger buns increased 17 percent to $2.26. Homemade potato salad costs $3.44, up 5 percent from 2022. The cost of two pounds of ground beef rose 4 percent to $11.54.
Several factors influence the increases.
•Drought conditions have increased the cost of feed and reduced the number of available cattle for the summer grilling season, driving up beef prices.
•Higher potato prices can be attributed to poor weather, leading to a drop in production.
•General inflation is driving up the price of processed foods like bread. The exception to this is a package of cookies cost 10 percent less than 2022.
The price of chicken breasts and eggs, which had reached record-high prices in 2022, are both lower. This is good news as the number of avian influenza cases has fallen, which has allowed chicken populations to recover.
Lemonade is 16 percent less expensive, at $3.73, due to a drop in the cost of lemons.
Although historically high, the cost of the cookout breaks down to less than $7 per person. In a global context, Americans spend a smaller percentage of their income on food than citizens do in any other country.
“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.
Prices for AFBF 2023 summer cookout
2 pounds of ground beef, $11.54 (+4 percent)
2 pounds of chicken breasts, $8.14 (-9 percent)
3 pounds of pork chops, $14.37 (-6 percent)
1 pound of cheese, $3.53 (no change)
1 package of hamburger buns, $2.26 (+17 percent)
2 ½ pounds of homemade potato salad, $3.44 (+5 percent)
32 ounces of pork and beans, $2.44 (-3 percent)
16-ounce bag of potato chips, $4.53 (-4 percent)
13-ounce package of chocolate chip cookies, $3.90 (-10 percent)
½ gallon of ice cream, $5.29 (+3 percent)
2 pints of strawberries, $4.56 (+3 percent)
2 ½ quarts of lemonade, $3.73 (-16 percent)

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