Cost of Fourth of July cookouts to jump by double digits this year

Dive Brief:

  • The cost of a Fourth of July cookout this year for 10 people — including items like cheeseburgers, chicken, homemade potato salad and soda — is up 17% from 2021 to hit an average of $69.68, according to an American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) market basket survey. A similar Wells Fargo analysis found that a holiday picnic for 10 could cost 11% more than in 2021.
  • According to the AFBF analysis, ground beef saw the biggest year-to-year price increase at 36%. Other picnic favorites that have seen significant price increases include chicken breast and wings and ice cream, the AFBF and Wells Fargo analyses noted.
  • Food inflation shows little sign of easing this year as supply chain issues, the Ukraine conflict and other pressures continue, forcing consumers to make tough decisions about what to purchase.

Dive Insight:

While many Americans like to serve up summertime favorites for Independence Day, the sticker shock caused by higher food prices has the potential to change their usual traditions.

Among the main food categories, meat has seen the most significant increase in prices as demand has shot up and supply has tightened. The price of chicken breasts are up 24%, while wing prices have increased 38% since last summer, according to Wells Fargo. The financial firm cited the high price of corn and soy for animal feed, as well as this year’s bird flu outbreak as drivers.

The price of hotdogs, another picnic favorite, has increased 12%, according to Wells Fargo. However, the increases vary based on the protein. The price of poultry-based hot dogs has increased by 15.3%, according to Wells Fargo, which noted the pressures of bird flu on supply of chicken. However, beef hot dog prices are only up 6.3%.

Hamburger and hot dog bun prices have also increased 10% this year, in response to price hikes for wheat triggered the Ukraine war and a tough growing season for the crop in many areas of the world.

Filling the cooler with beverages will also be a costlier expense this Fourth of July. The price of name brand soda is up 13% year-over-year, while beer prices have increased by nearly 25% so far this year, Wells Fargo said. Wine has seen a smaller, 5.8% average increase since the start of 2022.

Other popular picnic categories have also seen more modest price increases. While demand has risen for snacks like chips, both name-brand and private-label, pretzels have only seen a 5% increase in prices since summer 2021, according to Wells Fargo. The price of ice cream is up 6% as producers of dairy-based items grapple with supply constraints for milk. However, non-dairy alternatives have actually decreased in price by 4.5%, Wells Fargo said.

Concerns about inflation — food and otherwise — have taken their toll on consumer confidence, which plummeted in June, according to The Conference Board. And consumers have been making hard choices at the grocery store as food prices rise. Josh McCann, head of HQ client delivery and analytics at Symphony RetailAI, told Food Dive that some consumers are abandoning products they were previously loyal to out of price concerns.