Patriotic picnic will cost less this year

Patriotic picnic will cost less this year
WASHINGTON—This year’s Fourth of July cookout will cost slightly less than last year, according to a survey conducted by the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The total cost of 14 foods that can be used to prepare a summer cookout was $55.07, down 63 cents from last year’s survey.

Competition in the meat case continues to benefit consumers with lower retail prices, making Fourth of July grilling even more affordable for consumers this year.

U.S. Department of Agriculture projections for record beef and pork production in 2018 have contributed to lower ground beef and pork prices for consumers. Also contributing to lower prices are higher inventory levels for red meat and pork.

“Meat and dairy production has increased resulting in greater supplies and significantly lower farm prices,” explained Tony Banks, a commodity marketing specialist for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation.
Survey results found the average price for 2 pounds of ground beef was $8.40, down 29 cents from the June 2017 survey. Additionally, survey results showed 4 pounds of pork spare ribs were $11.96, down 80 cents from the prior year’s survey.

In general, prices for U.S. farm production have dipped in recent years, and lower farmgate prices have contributed to lower retail prices. “Lower farm prices are working their way through the chain to consumers, but so are higher transportation and healthcare costs borne by processors and retailers,” Banks explained. “Otherwise, consumers would likely realize even lower food prices resulting from low farm prices.”

Consumers have seen the price of a half-gallon of chocolate milk decline for two consecutive Fourth of July holidays. That’s because milk production is up, contributing to lower retail milk prices. This year’s survey results indicated a half gallon of chocolate milk cost $2.38, down 7 cents from last year.

While fluid milk prices have declined, tighter stocks of American cheese contributed to slightly higher cheese prices. Survey results found that the average price of a pound of American cheese was $2.88, which is up 6 cents from 2017.

Of the 14 foods surveyed, six decreased and eight increased in average price compared to last year.
Media: Contact Banks at 804-290-1114 or Cyndie Shearing, AFBF director of internal communications, at 202-406-3649.

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