As Americans prepared to celebrate the Fourth of July in 2023, they found themselves shouldering an unexpected burden: high food costs due to an unyielding inflationary trend. According to data collected by the National Retail Foundation (NRF), the average per-person spending on food items usually associated with Independence Day increased dramatically to $93.34, a record-setting figure that tops any past expenditure since the NRF began tracking in 2003.
The June survey, predominately centered around 8,225 consumers and conducted from June 1st through June 7th, clearly highlighted the inflation strains felt by the American populace. At a disquieting milestone, data indicated an increase of $9.22 compared to last year’s spending average of $84.12. Despite only costing $68.16 a decade ago, this figure has consistently trended upward every year, marking 2019 the lone exception to this unsettling rise.
Planning a cookout this year? Ketchup on the news. According to the Farm Bureau, the cost of a 4th of July BBQ is down from last year. It’s a fact you must-hear(d). Hot dog, the Biden economic plan is working. And that’s something we can all relish. pic.twitter.com/7h9qLauIbC
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) July 1, 2021
This news arrives amid reports of persistent inflation, a burgeoning crisis that hit a 40-year high in 2022. Despite this, according to a now controversial tweet from the Biden administration, the White House claimed, “The cost of a 4th of July cookout in 2021 is down $0.16 from (2020)”, despite severe inflation. However, the NRF’s subsequent survey demonstrated an actual increase of over $4 from 2020 to 2021, disputing the government’s previous assertion.
Comparing more recent data, The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a 10.9% increase in the price of consumer food goods from July 2021 to July 2022, marking the largest proportional increase since May 1979. Home food costs swelled by 13.1%, and dining out bore a 7.9% increase in the same 12-month period.
In addition, a report on food inflation from Wells Fargo highlighted other concerning price increases: beer rose by 8%, a typical 12-ounce soft drink by 54 cents or 14%, chocolate chip cookies soared by 14%, and bread saw a staggering 22% increase. Minor price upticks of about 1% occurred in costs relating to ground beef and pork chops. The price of ice cream and processed cheese also climbed by 9% and 10% respectively. Conversely, the average cost of milk deflated in 2023, providing some respite amidst a sea of inflation. Potato chip costs jumped by 15% from last year, whereas chicken breasts and eggs witnessed a rare decrease in prices.
These mounting costs though fascinatingly, did not deter patriotic sentiment. The NRF survey discovered a remarkable 87% of respondents still intended to commemorate Independence Day. While evidence of undeterred American fortitude, this revelation also underscores the unsettling reality of inflation’s unyielding impact on American’s wallets.
“From Fourth to Fruition: A Grappling with Unyielding Inflation.”
Inflation, a specter haunting not just the ghost of Fourth of July past, but indeed the present, creates an unseen challenge for Americans. As the cost of their favorite ‘All-American’ foods – burgers and beer, dogs and soda, cookies and chips – reach new heights, the public continues to grapple with the searing reality of an unyielding economic pressure. And though the NRF survey shows, incredibly, that high costs will not dissuade patriotic celebrations, it does highlight how this financial strain trickles down to even our most mundane, emblematic, and cherished traditions. As we wrestle with this increasing financial tension, one can only hope that the public’s resilience serves as a motivational impetus for the necessary policy changes to curb future inflationary pressure.