How Much Will Your 4th of July Cookout Cost? Inflation Hits Barbecue Foods

It seems like fireworks aren’t the only thing that’s going to be sky high this Independence Day.

The price of chicken breasts, pork chops, and pork and beans rose about a third or more in only a year, according to a June 27 survey from the American Farm Bureau Federation. The survey found that prices are increasing based on the ongoing war in Ukraine, inflation across the consumer landscape, supply chain disruptions and "shrinkflation" due to the pandemic, among other factors.

Researchers said that consumers in the United States will pay an average of $69.68 for standard July Fourth cookout fare, including more costly burgers, buns, potato salad, chips, lemonade and ice cream. This breaks down to about $7 a person per 10 cookout attendees. Cookout costs are up $10 from last year or 17% more from last years total, which the federation says is the largest increase they’ve seen since they started tracking data a decade ago.

The item that rose in cost the most, ground beef, went up a whopping 36% from last year. Prices have risen so much for meat that lawmakers on Capitol Hill have questioned executives of the country’s four top beef producers on reasons for price hikes, which have increased more than any other industry.

Food prices on the grill trending upward are a symptom of a larger issue of inflation across the shopping landscape. The Consumer Price Index, a measure of inflation across industries, found that prices have increased 8.6% economy-wide from May 2021 to May 2022, according to a food price outlook by the USDA. Additionally, the index found the level of inflation for grocery store or supermarket food purchases increase 11.9% in that same timeframe.

A silver lining in this costly cookout landscape can be found in the fruit and dairy sections, however. Strawberries and sliced cheese rank among the few items that decreased in price from last year, decreasing 16% and 13% respectively.

If you’re hankering for something salted, seasoned and cheap, don’t fret: A 16-ounce bag of potato chips is down 4%, costing an average of $4.71 a bag. So, feel free to crunch on a handful of kettle chips this holiday weekend without worrying about a similar crunch happening to your wallet.