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Indiana Grocery Items Less Expensive than US Average Ahead of 4th of July Cookouts

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This year, Hoosiers hosting a Fourth of July cookout can expect to pay less than other parts of the country. According to Indiana Farm Bureau’s informal Market Basket Summer Cookout Survey featuring some of America’s summertime staples – cheeseburgers, chicken breasts, potato salad, strawberries and more – Hoosiers can anticipate spending an average of $56.70 on a cookout to feed 10 people this summer, or $5.67 per person. That’s approximately 4.7% less than the U.S. average price of $5.95 per person.

While many food chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have been resolved, there is still strong demand for some items causing prices to remain at a premium across the country. However, prices in Indiana are not as expensive as most of the U.S.

The Market Basket Summer Cookout Survey was conducted in mid-June by 27 volunteer shoppers from across the state who collected prices on specific food items from their local grocery stores. The Indiana survey results are included in the nationwide survey coordinated by the American Farm Bureau Federation.

“Despite lingering high prices due to COVID-19 supply chain disruptions, Indiana food prices are nearly $3 less than the national average for a cookout for 10 people,” said Isabella Chism, INFB’s 2nd vice president and chair of the State Women’s Leadership Committee. “Hoosiers are excited to safely gather with family and friends after a year apart and can feed their guests on a budget if they purchase the more affordable items in our market basket, like chicken breasts, strawberries, potato salad and ice cream.”

The market basket shopping list included the following items: ground beef, cheese, hamburger buns, pork chops, chicken breasts, pork and beans, potato salad, strawberries, chips, ice cream, cookies and lemonade.

Three items on the shopping list are more expensive in Indiana than they are nationally, including ground beef, pork chops and cookies. The most prominent difference in price is for ground beef which is 18% (or $1.58) more expensive than the national average.

Alternatively, most items on the shopping list came in less than the national average, most notably cheese and ice cream at 30% and 41% less, respectively, than the national average. With record-high milk and cheese production increasing, consumers continue to see lower cheese and ice cream prices this summer. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. milk output sharply increased, with Indiana up 12.6% in dairy production just last month. The price of chicken breasts, chips, pork and beans, strawberries, potato salad and hamburger buns also were less than the national average.

Cookout Items (INFB survey) 2021 Indiana Total Cost % Difference from National Average
Ground Beef (2 lbs.)  $10.50 18%
Cheese (1 lb.)  $2.88 -30%
Cookies (13 oz bag)  $3.72 3%
Ice cream (half gallon)  $2.92 -41%
Strawberries (2 pints)  $4.03 -7%
Chips (13 oz bag)  $3.96 -21%
Chicken Breast (2 lbs.)  $6.43 -4%
Pork Chops (3 lbs.)  $12.94 9%
Pork and beans (32 oz)  $1.73 -21%
Hamburger Buns (1 package)  $1.48 -6%
Lemonade (2.5 qts.)  $3.73 0%
Potato Salad (2.5 lbs.)  $2.37 -11%
TOTAL AVERAGE PER PERSON $5.67 -4.7%
TOTAL AVERAGE MEAL PRICE $56.70

The Market Basket Summer Cookout Survey saw that the Midwest was the most affordable region of the country, with an average price of $56.83. The South at $59.53, the Northeast at $61.75, and the West came to an average of $62.41.

According to the USDA’s revised Food Dollar Series, in the mid-1970s, farmers on average received more than 30 cents on the dollar for consumer retail food purchases. That figure has steadily decreased since, and the farmer’s share of the dollar is about 13 cents for food consumed at home. Using this figure, the farmer’s share of this $56.70 market basket would be less than $8. The remainder goes to the other parts of the food industry.

“The share of the dollar continues to decline for farmers,” said Chism. “Indiana farmers are committed to streamlining their operations to decrease costs of production and accommodate for this decline, all while providing safe, affordable food not just for Hoosiers, but for families across the globe.”

AFBF has conducted the informal quarterly Market Basket Summer Cookout Survey of retail food price trends since 1989, except for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. AFBF’s survey combines Bureau of Labor Statistics food price data with survey results collected by more than 160 volunteer rural shoppers across the country and in Puerto Rico, including Farm Bureau members and others.

More details about AFBF’s summer market basket results can be found here.