Home 5 Ag Stories Competitive meat case lowers annual cookout cost

Competitive meat case lowers annual cookout cost

Photo Courtesy of the American Farm Bureau Federation


A recent survey indicates American consumers will spend less on Fourth of July cookouts.

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Summer Cookout Survey finds the average cost of a summer cookout for 10 people amounts to $55.07, or $5.51 per person. The cost is down slightly, less than one percent, from last year. AFBF Director of Market Intelligence Dr. John Newton says numerous factors contributed to the lower price.

“We’ve seen record beef production, pork production, as well as dairy production in 2018. I think that’s contributed to lower prices,” Newton said. “We saw two pounds of ground round come in at $8.40, down three-percent from last year. Four pounds of pork spare ribs came in at $11.96, down six-percent from last year. A half gallon of chocolate milk came in at $2.38, down three-percent from what we saw last year.”

The American Farm Bureau Federation’s summer cookout menu consists of hot dogs and buns, cheeseburgers and buns, pork spare ribs, deli potato salad, baked beans, corn chips, lemonade, chocolate milk, ketchup, mustard and watermelon.

Newton says retail prices remain relatively flat, making summer grilling more affordable. However, the farmer’s share of the food dollar has weakened, dropping to “very low levels.”

“The farm share of the food dollar, on average, is about 14.8 cents per dollar. That’s what the farmer gets. But, when you consider what the farmer has to pay to raise the livestock or grow crops, the farm share of the food dollar they get to keep is less than eight cents per dollar,” Newton said.

Newton notes the farmer’s share of the retail dollar further decreases when consumers choose to eat out. He adds more than 50-percent of the food is consumed outside the home.

“The farmer’s share of the food dollar consumed outside of the home is even less. In today’s food and Ag economy, more than 50% of the food (is) consumed outside of the home, so that’s also contributing to a lower share of the farmer’s food dollar,” Newton said.