A Fourth of July cookout of Americans' favorite foods including hot dogs, cheeseburgers, pork spare ribs, potato salad, baked beans, lemonade and chocolate milk will cost slightly less this year and still comes in at less than $6 per person, says the American Farm Bureau Federation.
Farm Bureau's informal survey reveals the average cost for a summer cookout for 10 is $55.84, or $5.58 per person. That's about a 3-percent decrease compared to a year ago.
"Based on our survey, food prices overall appear to be fairly stable. Prices for beef have continued to increase this year, but prices for other meats are generally declining. Dairy product prices are also quite a bit lower," said John Anderson, deputy chief economist at AFBF.
"Meat production is starting to increase substantially. Beef prices have started to stabilize but have not declined yet. On the other hand, retail pork prices have been declining all year," Anderson said.
"Fuel and other energy prices have also generally been lower so far this year compared to last year," Anderson said. "This helps keep prices down on the more processed items in the basket. Energy is an important component of the final price for these products.
"As a nation, we continue to enjoy a consistent, high-quality supply of meats and poultry at prices that are remarkably affordable for most consumers," he said.
AFBF's summer cookout menu for 10 consists of hot dogs and buns, cheeseburgers and buns, pork spare ribs, deli potato salad, baked beans, corn chips, lemonade, chocolate milk, watermelon for dessert, and ketchup and mustard.
A total of 88 Farm Bureau members (volunteer shoppers) in 30 states checked retail prices at their local grocery stores for this informal survey.
The summer cookout survey is part of the Farm Bureau marketbasket series which also includes the popular annual Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Survey and two "everyday" marketbasket surveys on common food staples Americans use to prepare meals at home. AFBF published its first marketbasket survey in 1986.
AFBF is the nation's largest general farm organization with member families in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Learn more at http://facebook.com/AmericanFarmBureau or follow @FarmBureau on Twitter.