Mark O’Neill, Media and Strategic Communications Director
510 S. 31st Street , Camp Hill, PA 17001 • 717.761.2740This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.@pfbmediaone

For Immediate Release: June 29, 2018

(Camp Hill) – Consumers across Pennsylvania should pay less for the food they enjoy during a Fourth of July All-American cookout compared to the national average, according to a comparison of prices conducted by Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB) and the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). Nearly 100 Farm Bureau members in 28 states documented the prices of 14 items, including classic cookout foods, like cheeseburgers, hot dogs, pork spare ribs and potato salad. PFB then compared Pennsylvania prices versus the national average.

summer cookout infophoto     PFB’s comparison revealed that the average price of a summer cookout for ten people in Pennsylvania costs $51.15 or $5.11 per person, while AFBF’s survey put the cost at $55.07, or $5.51 per person. The comparison reveals that Pennsylvania consumers could pay $3.92 less than the national average for their holiday cookout. (click on image at right)

     The chart below includes 2018 prices obtained by PFB (noted in green), 2018 prices from AFBF (noted in blue) and the percentage change between AFBF’S 2018 prices and its 2017 food prices.

Summer Picnic 2018 chart

      The AFBF survey found that the price of an All-American cookout fell by $0.63 nationally from $55.70 in 2017 to $55.07 in 2018. Additionally, the results of the informal food price surveys reveal good news for consumers, including those who cook hamburgers (ground round) and spare ribs on the grill, as competition in the meat case has resulted in lower retail prices.

     “We are seeing record meat production in 2018 so that has also influenced retail prices and so, for consumers, this year’s Fourth of July cookout costs will be slightly less than last year’s,” said AFBF Director of Market Intelligence Dr. John Newton.

     PFB members shopped at two competing grocery store chains, which have multiple locations across Pennsylvania, where they compiled the average price of the 14 cookout items from the two stores to determine the price used in the survey.

     “Prices vary from supermarket to supermarket, and the price of several key items, such as pork spare ribs, hamburger, watermelon and even corn chips can greatly affect the price consumers pay for their cookout items,” said PFB Director of Media and Strategic Communications Mark O’Neill. “Food prices are likely higher in more rural areas where there is less competition or only one local grocery store to buy from. Ultimately, Pennsylvania shoppers should expect to pay less for food items associated with a July 4th cookout than the average American.”

     Meanwhile, AFBF warns that while it is nice that consumers are paying less, it is not necessarily good news for farmers. “Through the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer food expenditures for food eaten at home and away from home. Today, farmers receive approximately 15 cents of every food marketing dollar, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department’s revised Food Dollar Series. The figures are even more bleak after accounting for the costs of production, as American farmers net only about 8 cents per food dollar,” added Newton.

     AFBF is the nation’s largest general farm organization with member families in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.  Learn more at or follow @FarmBureau on Twitter.

      Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is the state’s largest farm organization with more than 62,000 member families, representing farms of every size and commodity across Pennsylvania.