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Economy & Business

The cost of cooking out in Missouri this Fourth of July holiday

Rolanda Robinson (right) and a friend grill hot dogs for protesters on August 20 in Ferguson.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

Missourians will spend a bit more money to cook out this Fourth of July holiday than they did last year, but it's still less than the national average, according to the Missouri Farm Bureau.

In general, a cookout in the Show-Me State costs $50.50, which is 61 cents more than it cost a year ago. Diane Olson, director of promotion and education programs for the Missouri Farm Bureau, says the national average comes in at $56.06.

“We were looking at a menu that would feed at least 10 people, (and) I'm sure there would be some leftovers," she said. "(It) included cheeseburgers, pork spareribs, hot dogs, potato salad that's actually from the deli, (canned) baked beans, corn chips, watermelon, condiments for the burgers and hot dogs, and then having lemonade and chocolate milk as our beverage."'

Olson said ground beef had the most significant price change, which is 70 cents a pound cheaper now than it was a year ago.

"We really saw the meat prices, especially beef, drop this year, (while) the price of pork spare ribs actually remained steady for us here in Missouri," she said. "Hot dogs fluctuated a lot, depending on what you buy, but we actually saw those go up a little bit this year, so the primary shift was (at) the meat counter with the beef."

That wasn't the case two years ago, Olson said, when two pounds of ground round cost $9.46.

"(In) 2014 and 2015, there were droughts and (harsh) weather conditions, and a lot of beef producers were downsizing their herds," she said. "That's being compensated for as we've rebuilt those herds ... the supply is there now (and) we're starting to see that price drop."

The big price jump for Missouri's backyard cooks was for condiments, specifically mustard, ketchup, and buns.

"It's really hard to identify what was the factor that impacted that," she said.

Olson said on average it'll cost $5.05 a person to cook out in Missouri this holiday weekend, compared to the national average of $5.61 a person.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

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