The American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual Summer Cookout Cost Survey shows food prices at record levels. Bernt Nelson, an economist with Farm Bureau, talks about the data.

"Volunteer shoppers across the country, including Farm Bureau members and others, collected data from stores in every state and Puerto Rico. According to our volunteer shoppers, the average cost of a summer cookout meal for ten people is $71.22 or about $7.12 a person," Nelson said. "This is a record-high price for our survey, which we've been conducting since 2013. This is five percent higher than last year and 30 percent higher than just five years ago."

Nelson says the survey showed an increase in prices for nearly all items, with a couple of notable increases.

"The largest price increases in the survey were for ground beef, which was up 11 percent, and lemonade, which was up 12 percent," Nelson said. "The good news here is that we do have two items that went down in price. That's the price of chicken breasts is down four percent as cases of high path avian influenza have decreased and chicken populations have recovered from the 2022 avian influenza outbreak. Our potato salad ingredients are four percent less expensive this year, even though egg prices are elevated above historic averages."

Nelson says consumers are feeling the pinch of larger grocery bills.

"We have to note the record-high costs. We’re up 30 percent in just five years. This is causing some serious stress for consumers. That's a big jump, and it's forcing folks to make difficult decisions about the food they consume," Nelson said. "It's also important to put this data in a global context, because Americans spend a smaller percentage of their money on food than most other countries in the world."

For more information and to read additional analysis of the 2024 4th of July Cookout Cost Survey in a Market Intel report here.