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Summer picnics still a bargain at less than $6 per person

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picnicA typical summer picnic will cost slightly more this year than last, but it’s still a bargain at less than $6 per person, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The organization’s annual picnic survey found that the average cost of a menu for 10 that includes hot dogs, cheeseburgers, pork spare ribs, potato salad, baked beans, corn chips, watermelon, ketchup, mustard, lemonade and chocolate milk is $58.72, or $5.87 per person. That’s about a 5 percent increase from 2013.

“Despite some modest price increases over the past year or so—meats, especially—most Americans should be able to find summer picnic foods at prices close to the averages found by our volunteer shoppers,” said John Anderson, AFBF deputy chief economist. “Retail meat prices are higher compared to a year ago because the nation’s cattle herd is now at a historically small level. The total number of hogs farmers across the nation are raising is also down, which has contributed to higher retail prices for pork products.”

The largest price increase was for American cheese slices, which were up 14.3 percent. Ground round went up 13.4 percent, and pork spare ribs increased 13.2 percent in price between last summer and now. The prices for ketchup, lemonade, hot dogs and hot dog buns, baked beans and deli potato salad all decreased.

Picnic prices mirror overall food price increases over the past year, noted Jonah Bowles, senior agriculture market analyst with the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. “Gas prices are up about 10 percent right now, which also contributes to the increase in food prices. But despite the increase, food is still very affordable.

“And with a little bit of smart shopping, you can probably buy your picnic items for even less than the retail prices found in the survey.”

The AFBF picnic survey is part of a series that also includes the annual Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Survey and two other surveys on common food staples Americans use to prepare meals at home. A squad of Farm Bureau members across the nation checks retail prices at local grocery stores for the surveys. AFBF published its first marketbasket survey in 1986.f a menu for 10 that includes hot dogs, cheeseburgers, pork spare ribs, potato salad, baked beans, corn chips, watermelon, ketchup, mustard, lemonade and chocolate milk is $58.72, or $5.87 per person. That’s about a 5 percent increase from 2013.

“Despite some modest price increases over the past year or so—meats, especially—most Americans should be able to find summer picnic foods at prices close to the averages found by our volunteer shoppers,” said John Anderson, AFBF deputy chief economist. “Retail meat prices are higher compared to a year ago because the nation’s cattle herd is now at a historically small level. The total number of hogs farmers across the nation are raising is also down, which has contributed to higher retail prices for pork products.”

The largest price increase was for American cheese slices, which were up 14.3 percent. Ground round went up 13.4 percent, and pork spare ribs increased 13.2 percent in price between last summer and now. The prices for ketchup, lemonade, hot dogs and hot dog buns, baked beans and deli potato salad all decreased.

Picnic prices mirror overall food price increases over the past year, noted Jonah Bowles, senior agriculture market analyst with the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. “Gas prices are up about 10 percent right now, which also contributes to the increase in food prices. But despite the increase, food is still very affordable.

“And with a little bit of smart shopping, you can probably buy your picnic items for even less than the retail prices found in the survey.”

The AFBF picnic survey is part of a series that also includes the annual Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Survey and two other surveys on common food staples Americans use to prepare meals at home. A squad of Farm Bureau members across the nation checks retail prices at local grocery stores for the surveys. AFBF published its first marketbasket survey in 1986.

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