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July 4th Picnic: Meat Prices Stable, Sticker Shock for Buns, Ice Cream



Meat prices have leveled off ahead of Fourth of July. But the cost of most everything else is up (Shutterstock)
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Planning to barbecue on the Fourth of July? A new study shows that while meat prices have stabilized, the costs for bread, dairy, and beverages have ignited.

Food inflation has leveled off from highs in 2022, according to a study from the Wells Fargo Agri-Food Institute. Some notable prices include:

  • Sirloin steak up 2.9% year-over-year, following a 14% year-over-year jump in 2022
  • Ground beef at $5.36 a pound, only 1% up from last year
  • Chicken breast down 2%
  • Pork chops up 1%
  • Wine prices flat
  • Processed cheese up 10% year-over-year
  • Bread up 22%
  • Ice cream up 9%
  • Chocolate chip cookies up 14%

Protein Prices Stable from 2022 Highs

Sirloin steak hit an average of $10.75 a pound, according to Wells Fargo’s chief agricultural economist Michael Swanson. But higher wages and new employment for 4 million Americans may mean high-priced meat within the budget, the report stated.

Ground beef prices remained relatively stable after experiencing a 16% jump in 2022. Cattle producers and retailers are doing well, but margins for processors have thinned dramatically.

“Like so many things in agriculture and food, the wheel of fortune never stops spinning , and you should expect a new deal coming around the corner sooner rather than later,” the report stated.

Pork chops are averaging $4.19 a pound. Prices for pork have remained flat despite farmers feeding hogs with last year’s high-priced corn and soybeans. The same goes for chicken, according to the report. It will be a few more quarters before price increases for pork and chicken will be found on store shelves.

Chicken breasts are selling for $4.24 a pound.

Egg prices are dormant after avian flu leveled off. Eggs are down 7%.

Filling Up the Rest Of the Plate Will Cost You

Prices for carbs, sugar, and fat are mostly up year over year.

Strong milk prices in 2022 dropped, but that meant higher prices for processed forms of milk. Cheese and ice cream are up 10% and 9%, respectively. A half-gallon of ice cream is going for $5.81 while cheese hit $4.77 a pound.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine sent wheat prices sky-high in 2022. Now that wheat has stabilized, bakers are looking at the price of flour rise and bake into prices for hamburger and hotdog buns. Bread is 22% higher than a year ago,

Drought in Idaho and North and South Dakota sent potato prices higher, up 15% last year.

Soda is up 14% and beer follows closely behind, having increased by 8%.

Edward Smith began reporting for GV Wire in May 2023. His reporting career began at Fresno City College, graduating with an associate degree in journalism. After leaving school he spent the next six years with The Business Journal, doing research for the publication as well as covering the restaurant industry. Soon after, he took on real estate and agriculture beats, winning multiple awards at the local, state and national level. You can contact Edward at 559-440-8372 or at

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