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Montana Ag Network: New survey says July 4 cookouts remain affordable

BILLINGS – Millions of Americans will celebrate the Independence Day holiday this week, and a lot of these celebrations will include food.

The good news for consumers is even though the price of this year’s July 4 cookouts are up slightly, they still remain affordable for consumers.

The American Farm Bureau Federation’s latest market basket survey shows the price of a 13-item basket for a traditional July 4 cookout for 10 people is slightly higher than it was last year.

Farm Bureau Chief Economist John Newton says the cost to feed family and friends is $52.80, or $5.28 per person, compared to $52.69, or $5.27 per person, in 2018.

“This year’s survey showed that hamburger prices were slightly more expensive in 2019 at $4.20 a pound, and then we also saw a decrease in rib prices in 2019, helping to keep the July 4 cookout price stable relative to prior year levels” said Newton.

The rise in hamburger prices comes from strong consumer demand, as well as growth in U.S. meat production. Newton says the price of food remains stable for American consumers.

“The results of this year’s survey confirm that the price of a July 4th cookout remains in line with what we’ve seen over the past five years. Food prices remain very stable and are in line with the Consumer Price Index inflation rate of around 1%” said Newton.

Out of the 13 foods in the survey, five decreased in price, five increased, and three had no change compared to last year. By the way, Farm Bureau tracked a new item as part of this year’s July 4 cookout survey: ice cream.

The farm bureau says as online grocery shopping continues to capture consumer interest, a survey of popular online grocery services reveals the 13 items included in the AFBF July 4th survey actually cost more than $70 or 38 percent higher than shopping at your local grocery store.

-Russell Nemetz reporting for MTN News

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