Summer Cookout Still An Incredible Bargain

July 3, 2017 12:00 PM

Planning on entertaining guests for the Independence Day holiday? Filling them up with all-American cookout favorites is still a tremendous bargain, according to a recent survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation.


Farm Bureau priced out the average cost for a summer cookout for 10 people, with a hypothetical menu of hot dogs, hamburgers, pork spare ribs, potato salad, baked beans, corn ships, watermelon, chocolate milk, lemonade and ketchup/mustard. That menu can be served up for about $5.57 per person, according to the survey – down very slightly (less than 1%) from 2016.

“As expected, higher production has pushed retail meat prices down,” according to AFBF director of market intelligence John Newton. “Retail pork prices also declined in 2017, largely due to more pork on the market and ample supplies of other animal proteins available for domestic consumption. Lower beef prices are most likely putting downward pressure on pork prices.”

Newton also points out a stability in dairy prices due to an improving export market.


Summer grill prices

This survey is a part of Farm Bureau’s marketbasket series – a quarterly look at what common food staples cost at U.S. grocery stores. These surveys track closely with the federal government’s Consumer Price Index report for home food costs, Newton notes. The share that farmers and ranchers receive for this “food dollar” has slipped over time, he says.

“Through the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures for food eaten at home and away from home, on average,” he says. “That figure has decreased steadily and is now about 16%, according to the Agriculture Department’s revised Food Dollar Series.”

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