Your July 4th Cookout to Cost Slightly Less this Year Says INFB

Your July 4th Cookout to Cost Slightly Less this Year Says INFB


Hoosiers should expect to pay roughly $5 per person on summer cookout ingredients

This year, hosts of an Independence Day cookout featuring some of America’s favorite summer foods—hot dogs, cheeseburgers, ribs, watermelon and more—can expect to pay a little more than $5 per person for the meal, according to an annual survey from Indiana Farm Bureau.

INFB’s informal survey showed that the average cost to feed 10 people at a cookout in Indiana this summer is $51.55, or $5.15 per person. The overall price is slightly less expensive when compared to statistics from past years, with the totals of $51.85 in 2015 and $52.74 in 2014.

The summer cookout survey was conducted by 21 volunteer shoppers all across the state who collected prices on specific food items from one of their local grocery stores. The shopping list included ground round, hot dogs, hot dog and hamburger buns, pork spare ribs, American cheese slices, baked beans, potato salad, corn chips, prepared lemonade, chocolate milk, ketchup and mustard.

“As we gather together to celebrate our independence, many of us enjoy a cookout outdoors with family and friends,” said Isabella Chism, INFB’s second vice president. “A traditional barbeque with hamburgers,  hotdogs and ribs will cost shoppers just a little less this year.”

This year, there were small but notable shifts in the price of ground round, watermelon, pork spare ribs, potato salad and chocolate milk. The price of hot dogs, buns, American cheese, baked beans, corn chips, lemonade and ketchup and mustard remained relatively flat.


Cookout Items (INFB survey) 2014 2015 2016
Ground round (2 lbs.) $9.24 $9.46 $8.26
Hot dogs (1 lb.) $2.02 $1.79 $1.82
Hamburger buns (1 package) $1.40 $1.30 $1.49
Hot dog buns (1 package) $1.48 $1.37 $1.51
Pork spare ribs (4 lbs.) $11.60 $11.28 $10.28
American cheese (16-slice package) $2.92 $2.95 $2.53
Baked beans (28-ounce can) $1.83 $1.75 $1.86
Potato salad (1 lb. prepared) $8.28 $7.80 $9.84
Watermelon (4 lbs.) $3.96 $3.79 $4.27
Corn chips (15 oz. bag) $3.15 $3.36 $3.31
Lemonade (premixed, half gallon) $1.91 $2.08 $1.96
Chocolate milk (half gallon) $2.43 $2.50 $1.96
Mustard (16 oz. bottle) $1.41 $1.40 $1.32
Ketchup (20 oz. bottle) $1.11 $1.02 $1.09
TOTAL $52.74 $51.85 $51.50

The Indiana survey results are included in the nationwide survey coordinated by the American Farm Bureau Federation. The national survey showed the average cost of a summer cookout across the county for 10 people is $55.70, or $5.57 per person. The cost for the cookout on the national survey is also down slightly (less than 1 percent) from last year. The national meal average is just 8 percent higher than the Indiana average.

“As expected, higher production has pushed retail meat prices down,” said John Newton, AFBF director of market intelligence. “Retail pork prices also declined in 2017, largely due to more pork on the market and ample supplies of other animal proteins available for domestic consumption. Lower beef prices are most likely putting downward pressure on pork prices.”

Newton said retail dairy and meat prices included in the survey are consistent with recent trends and are expected to continue to be stable.

Commenting on watermelon prices, Newton said, “Although U.S. farmers continue to increase watermelon production, consumer demand has also increased, contributing to higher retail prices.”

The year-to-year direction of the market basket survey aligns closely with the federal government’s Consumer Price Index report for food at home. As grocery prices have increased gradually over time, the share of the average food dollar that America’s farm families receive has dropped.

According to the Agriculture Department’s revised Food Dollar Series, in the mid-1970s, farmers on average received roughly one-third of consumer retail food expenditures for food eaten at home and away. That figure has steadily decreased since then and is now around 16 percent.

“We can expect prices to rise and fall over time, but it’s important to remember that the farmer’s share of our food dollar remains quite low,” said Chism. “Using the ‘food at home and away from home’ percentage, the farmer’s share of this $51.55 market basket would be $8.76. The remaining goes to the other parts of the food industry.”

The summer cookout survey is part of the Farm Bureau market-basket series, which includes the annual Thanksgiving dinner cost survey and two surveys that collect information on food staples that Americans commonly use to prepare meals at home. AFBF published its first market-basket survey in 1986.