Plan to pay more for your Fourth of July barbecue - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Plan to pay more for your Fourth of July barbecue

Posted: Updated:

By Herb Weisbaum, NBC News

(NBC) - Some of the favorite foods for your Fourth of July barbecue – burgers, steaks, chicken and fresh fruit – will cost you significantly more than last year. And last summer's drought has a lot to do with it.

The latest USDA Price Outlook shows the Consumer Price Index for all food is 1.4 percent higher than last year, with the biggest price spikes for most animal-based food products.

Overall beef prices are about 1.7 percent higher than May 2012. Ground beef is up 1.1 percent.

"These prices are high," said Richard Volpe, an economist with the USDA Research Service. "For many beef products, ground beef in particular, we are looking at record prices even when adjusted for inflation."

Supermarkets typically run specials on beef at the start of the barbecue season–and that has already started to happen. But Volpe does not expect prices to drop below last year's.

Maybe you're cutting down on meat and eating more chicken. You've probably noticed that those chicken prices have been climbing all year, too. Poultry prices right now are 5.6 percent higher than a year ago, according to the USDA report.

"That's pretty substantial," Volpe said. "We've seen much higher than average inflation for chicken prices recently and those prices are high right now as we head into the summer grilling season."

Both beef and poultry producers say consumers are feeling the lingering effects of last summer's drought which devastated the nation's corn crop, a major component of livestock feed.

"Higher corn prices have resulted in less chicken coming to market and higher prices for what did," said Tom Super, vice president of communications at the National Chicken Council.

Burger lovers will find ground beef selling for about 10 cents a pound more than a year ago.

The National Beef Cattlemen's Association believes beef prices have started to stabilize. The rancher's message to shoppers: Beef is still a reasonably-priced source of protein.

"The average retail price for a serving of beef is about a dollar," said Trevor Amen, the association's director of market intelligence.

"Prices for beef, chicken and poultry are going to continue going up," said Phil Lempert, food industry analyst and editor of SupermarketGuru.com. "So when you see something on sale, whether it's Hebrew National hot dogs or chicken breast, stock up and put it in the freezer."

Just be sure to do it properly. Lempert recommends wrapping the food in aluminum foil and then putting it into a zip-lock type freezer bag. Be sure to mark the outside of the bag with the date. For best quality, you want to use it within six months.

Family-size packs of beef or chicken are another way to stretch your food dollars. They give you a variety of items at a lower price per pound.

You can also save if you do some of the prep work yourself. It's a lot cheaper to buy a whole chicken and cut it up yourself rather than get prepackaged chicken breasts. Lempert said the dark meat is great for grilling.

There is one bit of good news. The latest USDA report says because of a decline in exports and increased hog production, retail pork prices so far in 2013 are well below those of 2012.

  • NewsMore>>

  • Labor Day cookouts raise thousands of dollars for charities

    Labor Day cookouts raise thousands of dollars for charities

    Monday, September 1 2014 3:04 PM EDT2014-09-01 19:04:59 GMT
    Some Labor Day cookouts are raising thousands of dollars for local charities."People can drive through and not have to cook on Labor Day and not have to labor," said Jim Hines of the Signal Mountain Lions Club.There was a line of cars driving through Althaus Park on Signal Mountain Monday afternoon -- all picking up plates of barbecue."This culminates our biggest fundraiser. We really look forward to this," said Hines.Money from the barbecue plates, along with a new car raffle, help the Lions...More
    Some Labor Day cookouts are raising thousands of dollars for local charities."People can drive through and not have to cook on Labor Day and not have to labor," said Jim Hines of the Signal Mountain Lions Club.There was a line of cars driving through Althaus Park on Signal Mountain Monday afternoon -- all picking up plates of barbecue."This culminates our biggest fundraiser. We really look forward to this," said Hines.Money from the barbecue plates, along with a new car raffle, help the Lions...More
  • Rock Spring holds Labor Day car show

    Rock Spring holds Labor Day car show

    Monday, September 1 2014 2:56 PM EDT2014-09-01 18:56:06 GMT
    The Walker County Labor Day Car and Motorcycle Show filled the Civic Center parking lot in Rock Spring.Those who attended enjoyed checking out the classics while helping support a good cause.Two hundred cars were on display that rolled in to help raise money guaranteed to put a smile on a child's face Christmas morning.Vehicle registration cost $20 a car, southern favorites were also for sale.Every dollar collected and donated will be handed to the Al Millard Memorial Stocking Full of Love Fo...More
    The Walker County Labor Day Car and Motorcycle Show filled the Civic Center parking lot in Rock Spring.Those who attended enjoyed checking out the classics while helping support a good cause.Two hundred cars were on display that rolled in to help raise money guaranteed to put a smile on a child's face Christmas morning.Vehicle registration cost $20 a car, southern favorites were also for sale.Every dollar collected and donated will be handed to the Al Millard Memorial Stocking Full of Love Fo...More
  • Kraft recalls certain packages of American cheese

    Kraft recalls certain packages of American cheese

    Monday, September 1 2014 1:55 PM EDT2014-09-01 17:55:33 GMT
    Kraft is voluntarily recalling 7,691 cases of four varieties of its regular American Singles cheese product.More
    Kraft is voluntarily recalling 7,691 cases of four varieties of its regular American Singles cheese product.More
Powered by WorldNow
Can't find what you're looking for?

WRCB-TV
900 Whitehall Road
Chattanooga, TN 37405
(423) 267-5412

WRCB Jobs EEO | FCC Public Files

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WRCB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.