Barbecues are a a staple of the American summer. Especially as Fourth of July approaches, many people are deciding what type of meat to buy or what sides to make. As much as individual taste comes into play, price and value may be just as, or more, important. With the rising and declining costs of some staple items, we may notice a difference in what our picnic tables look like this year.
The average cost of a 10-person BBQ increased 30% in the last decade, according to data released by Rabo AgriFinance. This was fueled by price increases of 7.3% for beef, 6.2% for lettuce, 6.8% for tomatoes and 4.4% for bread. Pickles, chips, soda and beer have also become slightly more expensive in the past year. Small cattle herds, and consumer demand for beef have both raised prices, while lettuce and tomato prices were impacted by rough winter weather.
However, the average price paid for a full spread will be down from last year, at $55.84 this year compared to $57.57 in 2014. Chicken prices declined 1.9% in the past year, cheese fell 2.2% and ice cream is down 4.4%. Pork spare ribs, hot dog buns and watermelon are all also down from a year ago, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). John Anderson, deputy chief economist at AFBF, says even though beef prices have risen, other meat prices are declining and food prices overall are stable.
Conversely, the National Retail Federation actually estimates an increase, predicting that spending on food for Fourth of July will average $71.23 per household, up from $68.18 last year, and total spending on food items for the holiday is estimated to reach $6.6 billion. So its possible that consumers will fill the grill with more chicken, hot dogs, and pork, this year, but possibly make up for their savings with items like pickles, chips and bread.