An editorial column from the Missouri Farm Bureau Federation
By Diane Olson
Parades, carnivals, fireworks, food, family and friends are part of traditional 4th of July festivities. As we commemorate the independence of our country, consumers can add stable food prices as another cause for celebration. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) July 4th Cookout Survey, compared to last year’s prices, Americans will spend only pennies more for the same items.
Shoppers across the country shared prices from their local supermarkets for 13 items needed to complete a menu of cheeseburgers, hot dogs, pork spare ribs, baked beans, potato salad, corn chips, watermelon and lemonade. The national average of these items that provides an abundance of food for 10 people rang in at $52.80, or $5.28 per person. This represents an increase of only 11 cents overall from 2018, or one cent per person.
Missouri’s prices came in at $50.22, or $5.02 per person, slightly lower than the national average. Unless the group is really hungry, there will likely be leftovers for additional meals, dropping the per-person cost even lower.
Strong consumer demand for beef products did continue to push hamburger prices higher. In Missouri, the average per-pound price for ground round was $4.58. The national average was $4.32.
While beef prices increased, pork spare rib average cost remained steady or dropped slightly year-over-year. Missouri price per pound for pork spare ribs remained at $2.99 per pound while the national average dropped to $2.94. Pork production has increased, creating an abundance of product and resulting in more competition at the meat counter.
Many shoppers are choosing to make food purchases online. The convenience of this service can add to the overall cost of food depending upon the service utilized. AFBF found that the same 13 items for the July 4th survey purchased online cost more than $70. However, many busy families find that online shopping fits their lifestyle and also eliminates impulse purchases that often occur when shopping while hungry or when accompanied by children.
Farmers work year-round to provide abundant food that meets nutritional needs of consumers. This year farmers face uncertainty in global markets as well as challenging weather conditions and flooding that have delayed planting. Despite this, at least this year, consumers can celebrate July 4 with stable food prices and an abundance of choices thanks to farmers.
(Diane Olson, of Jefferson City, Mo., is Director of Promotion & Education for the Missouri Farm Bureau, the state’s largest farm organization. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 573-893-1414.)