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FINANCE

Inflation: Will this year’s 4th of July cookout be cheaper or more expensive than last year?

The cost of a 4th of July meal will be higher this year compared to last year due to inflation though not as big a a jump compared to 2021.

Update:
A woman takes a photo of flags flying in front Union Station ahead of the Fourth of July holiday,  in Washington, U.S,  June 27, 2023.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
KEVIN LAMARQUEREUTERS

Independence Day is one of the most important federal holidays on the calendar. Families and friends gather to celebrate the tossing off of English shadows as we approach the 250th anniversary of the nation

If the US economy is operating how the Federal Reserve wants then the price of Independence Day cookout will increase every year. This level of inflation is based on the belief that a modest level of inflation can have several beneficial effects on the economy, such as stable prices as well as economic stimulation.

What will soon be the first seven months of 2023 is no different; inflation will increase the prices of your barbecue. However, prices have increased more than the Fed wants.

The most recent inflation data has prices increasing on average by 4%, twice the Fed target. Food prices themsevles are a key driver of this, up some 6% since July 2022.

Wells Fargo has produced a report into rising 4th of July prices, similar to how the company did last year.

Selected price increases

  • sirloin steak (2.9% higher)
  • processed cheese (10% higher),
  • bread (22% higher),
  • ice cream (9% higher),
  • beer (8% higher)

“Food inflation has definitely started to slow down, and this is good news for consumers. However, it still won’t be cheaper to celebrate the Fourth of July this year,” says Dr. Michael Swanson, Wells Fargo Chief Agricultural Economist. “The reason stems from the current pricing for some of the key menu ingredients.”

Comparing to 4th of July 2022

Last year, the pandemic disrupted global supply chains, which in turn significantly increased the costs of corn and soybeans, both of which are used in animal feed, making all sorts of products more expensive. Then there is the small matter of poultry farmers being force to cull millions of chickens in recent months due to the onset of an unforgiving bird flu.

Inflation stood at the highest rate since 1994, hitting 12 percent, though has decreased since.

Food and agribusiness adviser David Branch co-authored the same Wells Fargo study, calculating how much prices had risen last year.

“I’m not doing ribs,” Branch said. “I’m not doing beef brisket and other things that probably I would normally do.”