Fourth of July Cookouts Could Cost More this Year

In a few days, millions of Americans will ignite their grills and barbecue up a storm in a grand Independence Day tradition enjoyed from coast to coast. Thanks to inflation, though, this year’s celebrations may be pricier than in years past. While Fourth of July favorites like hot dogs and potato salad remain affordable, prices for items like ground beef, pork chops, and lemonade have risen dramatically. 

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), an average cookout for 10 people will cost $71.22 this year, a 5 percent increase from 2023 and a whopping 30 percent jump from five years ago. Burger ingredients will be the main pain for consumers: ground beef prices are up 11 percent since last year while burger bun prices have risen by 7 percent. Along with inflationary pressures, low supplies are also sending beef costs soaring, with the American cattle inventory at its lowest point in 73 years. “We had a really severe drought in 2022 that caused that reduction in supply,” said Courtney Schmidt, who co-wrote the AFBF’s report. “It’s a long life cycle for cattle, so it takes time to rebuild that herd.”

The nation’s supply of lemons has also been significantly reduced thanks to a citrus-greening disease that damaged crops throughout California. With lemon prices much higher as a result, the cost of lemonade has climbed by more than 12 percent. Of course, no matter how expensive this year’s cookouts become, it’s still a better deal to barbecue in the backyard than to head out to eat. For example, buying a quarter-pound burger at a quick-service restaurant costs three times more than preparing one at home. “This is going to be another great year to break out your grill and cook the burger yourself at home,” said Schmidt.


  1. Why will this year’s Fourth of July cookouts be more expensive compared to years past?
  2. Why do you think it is cheaper to prepare a burger at home than to buy one at a quick-service restaurant? 

Source: Greg Iacurci, “Here’s Why Your July 4th Barbecue May Be Pricier This Year,” CNBC, June 27, 2024.