Grilling enthusiasts, prepare to spend the most ever on backyard barbecues this Fourth of July in the wake of surging prices for beef, bacon, ice cream and other staples.
U.S. retail prices for grill favorites rose 5.1% in May from a year earlier to the highest ever for the month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“While commodity price fluctuations are not always passed on to retail prices, American consumers will feel some significant market changes this Fourth of July,” said Bill Cordingley, head of food and agribusiness research at Rabobank.
The cost of a typical 10-person barbecue has increased 28% over the past 10 years, from $51.90 in 2004 to today’s cost of $66.82, according to Rabobank’s inaugural BBQ Index.
So if you do a double take while looking at your grocery receipt, this is why:
Ground beef costs about $4 a pound, 16% more than last year and 71% more than five years ago.
Sirloin steak will set you back a steep $7.60 a pound thanks to higher feed costs and smaller cattle herds.
Bacon-wrapped hot dog lovers will see a major bump in the price of America’s favorite salty meat. The cost of bacon increased more than any other meat, to $6.05 a pound, 50% more than in May 2010. Pork costs have risen in the wake of a virus that has killed 7 million piglets since May 2013.
Cheese and ice cream prices have both jumped 15% in the past five years due to growing demand for U.S. dairy products in China and other developing economies.
If you love tomatoes and lettuce on your burger, be prepared to pay a little bit more and blame the drought.
California grows half of the nation’s fruits and vegetables. The state has been battling a three-year drought that has boosted the cost of fresh food. Mexico, where America gets a lot of its tomatoes, is also having serious water issues.
Now let’s get down to the most important part of a typical July 4 barbecue: beer.
Rabobank reports that the prices of 20 top-selling beers have increased on average by 10% over the last five years, as the popularity of more expensive “craft” beers has pushed up prices.
But there is a silver lining: The price of beer in grocery stores dropped 0.3% in May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, so you might want to stock up.