Local NewsCookout food prices soaring higher than bottle rockets this...

Cookout food prices soaring higher than bottle rockets this year, at $10 more on average than last year

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Fire up your grill this weekend and be prepared to burn up your bucks — the price of a Fourth of July cookout has skyrocketed.

An average summer cookout for 10 people at today’s prices has risen from $59.50 last year to $69.68, an increase of $10.18 or 17%, according to the latest American Farm Bureau Federation market basket survey. It had dipped 16 cents in 2021 from the year before, a figure that had the Biden White House celebrating with puns.

“Planning a cookout this year? Ketchup on the news. According to the Farm Bureau, the cost of a 4th of July BBQ is down from last year,” the White House blared in a tweet on July 1, 2021. “It’s a fact you must-hear(d). Hot dog, the Biden economic plan is working. And that’s something we can all relish.”

The modest decrease was still far from a recovery from 2020’s increase of $4.78 over 2019.

The Farm Bureau, an insurance company and lobbying group representing the American agricultural industry in D.C., released its analysis Monday of a grab-bag of Independence Day cookout favorites and found only three items — two pints of strawberries at $4.44, one pound of sliced cheese at $3.53 and a 16-ounce bag of potato chips at $4.71 — had decreased in price since 2021.

The biggest surge in price was two pounds of ground beef at $11.12, or 36% over the $8.20 in 2021, which had actually decreased by 8% from 2020, which the Bureau chalked up to the resolution of disruptions of beef and pork production caused by the COVID pandemic’s start in 2020.

All in all, food cooked at home — like at a cookout — had increased in price by 11.9% by May over the same month last year, compared with a 10.1% increase for all food, according to the latest Consumer Price Index report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service.

Eggs, which do not generally factor into a cookout, was a standout change in the CPI report, as they were going for nearly a third over last year at 32.2%. But meat — which really weighs down the holiday budget this year — had itself jumped 13.1% over last year.

That’s what you’re paying at the market, but beef wholesalers are actually making a little less in the trade, with wholesale beef trading at 14.2% less in May than the same time last year, according to the Producer Price Index report. Those wily egg prices are even more extreme at the producer level at more than double the price, at a 100.7% increase, over last year.

This Fourth of July grocery shopping shock may just be a precursor for further shock down the line, as the Department of Agriculture predicts 2022 food-at-home prices to increase by an additional 8.5% to 9.5%, with restaurants and takeaway seeing a somewhat more modest increase of 6% to 7% as the year drags on.

New Englanders are experiencing 9% average price hikes across all categories due to inflation, according to the April State Inflation Tracker put out by Republican members of Congress’ Joint Economic Committee — a rate that surprisingly tracks lower than states hardest hit by recent inflation.

Residents of the Mountain West — and especially Utah and Colorado, which glow bright red on the committee’s inflation map — are feeling a different kind of Rocky Mountain high with a 12.7% price hike.

  • An analysis by the American Farm Bureau Federation shows that...

    Courtesy / American Farm Bureau Federation

    An analysis by the American Farm Bureau Federation shows that Americans will spend around 17% more for a standard July 4 cookout than they did last year. (American Farm Bureau Federation)

  • An analysis by the American Farm Bureau Federation shows that...

    American Farm Bureau Federation

    An analysis by the American Farm Bureau Federation shows that Americans will spend around 17% more for a standard July 4 cookout than they did last year. (American Farm Bureau Federation)

  • A heat map showing the relative rates of inflation experienced...

    Courtesy / Joint Economic Committee Republicans

    A heat map showing the relative rates of inflation experienced by residents of different U.S. states as of April 12, 2022, according to the Republican members of Congress' Joint Economic Committee's State Inflation Tracker. New England prices surged 9% by April 2022 when compared with January 2021, but the region was not the worst off by far. (Courtesy / Joint Economic Committee Republicans)

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