A summer cookout of hot dogs, cheeseburgers, pork spare ribs, potato salad, baked beans, lemonade and chocolate milk would cost less than $6 per person, says the American Farm Bureau Federation in its annual summertime food cost survey.
For 10 people, the cost of a summertime cookout would be about $55.84 – $5.58 per person and a 3% decrease from last year. Farm Bureau's April everyday survey of food staples placed the cost of a spring picnic at about $53.87.
Information for the Farm Bureau's informal survey is collected by 88 volunteer shoppers in 30 states.
"Based on our survey, food prices overall appear to be fairly stable. Prices for beef have continued to increase this year, but prices for other meats are generally declining. Dairy product prices are also quite a bit lower," said John Anderson, deputy chief economist at AFBF.
Anderson says meat production is increasing and beef prices have started to stabilize, but haven't yet declined.
"On the other hand, retail pork prices have been declining all year," Anderson said.
Fuel and other energy prices have also generally been lower so far this year compared to last year, Anderson said. "This helps keep prices down on the more processed items in the basket. Energy is an important component of the final price for these products."
AFBF's summer cookout menu for 10 consists of hot dogs and buns, cheeseburgers and buns, pork spare ribs, deli potato salad, baked beans, corn chips, lemonade, chocolate milk, watermelon for dessert, and ketchup and mustard.
The summertime survey is part of Farm Bureau's marketbasket survey series, which tracks pricing for a typical Thanksgiving meal as well as pricing for everyday staples twice a year.
AFBF published its first marketbasket survey in 1986.