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Food prices are lower this summer than in 2022. But you may pay more for that Fourth of July burger.

Annual survey of grocery stores finds prices have come down from a record high last year, but are still higher than previous years

A man uses tongs to rotate food on a grill.
After a record-breaking year in 2022, Wisconsinites can expect the cost of a cookout to be slightly lower this 4th of July, but the average cost of ground beef in the U.S. was up almost 4 percent. AP Photo

After a record-breaking year in 2022, Wisconsinites can expect the cost of a cookout to be slightly lower this Independence Day.

An annual survey of grocery stores done by the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation found a cookout for 10 people cost an average of $66.72. That’s about 4 percent lower than last year’s average, which was the highest on record for the survey. This year’s meal is still the second-highest total recorded over the last 10 years and is almost 11 percent higher than the same meal in 2021.

Cassie Sonnentag, spokesperson for Wisconsin Farm Bureau, said many of the issues that drove up prices in 2022 are still affecting the food supply chain.

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“The war in Ukraine, inflation, all of that still is impacting agriculture, particularly on the input costs for farmers,” she said. “Farmers are price takers, not price makers. And so when it comes to higher fuel (costs), higher fertilizer (costs), those are all things that hinder a farmer’s bottom dollar.”

The national average for the 12 food items on the survey cost $67.73, about 3 percent less than in 2022.

Meat prices were a major factor in the overall cost of the meal. The national average price of chicken breasts were down over 9 percent and pork chops were down almost 6 percent. But the average cost of ground beef in the U.S. was up almost 4 percent.

In Wisconsin, the survey found the average price for ground beef saw an even larger increase of almost 7 percent, going from $9.94 for 2 pounds in 2022 to $10.60 for the same amount this year. That’s due in part to a much smaller increase in the state’s average beef price last year compared to national numbers. Wisconsin’s beef price is still around a dollar cheaper than the national average.

Pork chops went down in price, following national trends. But the average price of chicken in Wisconsin was a dollar more than the U.S. average, increasing around 6 percent higher from last year’s survey.

Sonnentag said drought conditions across the country last year and into 2023 have impacted the availability and price of crops that are used for livestock feed.

“That drives up feed costs, and it reduces the amount of cattle that are on the market. And that’s across the country, not just here in Wisconsin,” she said.

Despite higher feed costs, Sonnentag said Wisconsinites have generally seen lower meat and dairy prices at the grocery store than the national average. She said that’s thanks to the prevalence of farms across the state.

“Being able to have less travel time between the processor and the grocery store, that helps reduce a little bit of that overhead cost, which allows Wisconsin to stay pretty competitive,” she said.

The average price of vanilla ice cream was 26 percent lower in Wisconsin than the national average for 2023, while the price of American cheese was about 14 lower than the national numbers.

Egg prices, which saw a significant jump in price across the country last year in response to highly-pathogenic avian influenza, came down both at the state level and nationally. The Wisconsin survey found grocery prices for a dozen eggs are around $1.15, or 43 percent, lower than in 2022.