July 4th picnic food costs are stable in 2021

The cost of a typical cookout this year will cost a few pennies less than it did in 2020, but food costs are higher than in 2019, according to a report from the American Farm Bureau Federation.

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WASHINGTON — Packing the July Fourth picnic basket will cost a little less than last year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation .

A Farm Bureau survey of typical cookout food costs — including cheeseburgers, pork chops, chicken breasts, homemade potato salad, pork & beans, strawberries, potato chips, fresh-squeezed lemonade, ice cream and chocolate chip cookies — indicates the average cost of a summer cookout for 10 people is $59.50, or about $6 per person.

That cost is about 16 cents less than last year.

However, the 2021 cost is about 8% higher compared with 2019.

The largest year-to-year price increase was for strawberries.


Survey results showed two pints of strawberries at $5.30, which is a 22% increase from last year. The jump is being blamed on a strong demand and the effects of several weather events including severe rain, hail and high winds that affected harvest early this year in some parts of the country.

An early frost in west central Minnesota severely damaged some local U-pick strawberry farms.

According to American Farm Bureau economist Veronica Nigh, the beef and pork processing plant disruptions last year during the pandemic have been resolved, resulting in lower retail ground beef and pork chop prices compared to last year. But those costs are higher than 2019.

The cost of transporting, processing and packaging farm-grown foods is a major component of the total cost of the menu.

It’s estimated that farmers receive about 8% of every food marketing dollar.

“The farmer’s share of the retail food dollar is as low as 2% to 4% for highly processed foods such as bread and cereal, and as much as 35% for some fresh-market products,” said Nigh.

Individual prices

  • 2 pints of strawberries, $5.30 (up 22%)

  • 13-ounce bag of chocolate chip cookies, $4.02 (up 11%)

  • 8 hamburger buns, $1.66 (up 6%)

  • 2.5 pounds of homemade potato salad, $2.75 (up 3%)

  • 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, $6.74 (up 1%)

  • 32 ounces of pork & beans, $1.90 (down 13%)

  • 2 pounds of ground beef, $8.20 (down 8%)

  • Half-gallon of vanilla ice cream, $4.69 (down 5%)

  • 3 pounds of center cut pork chops, $11.63 (down 2%)

  • 2.5 quarts of fresh-squeezed lemonade, $3.65 (down 2%)

  • 1 pound of sliced cheese, $4.05 (down 1%)

  • 13-ounce bag of potato chips, $4.93 (down 1%)

Carolyn Lange is a features writer at the West Central Tribune. She can be reached at or 320-894-9750
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