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How Much Does it Cost to Have a Fourth of July BBQ?

Rabobank BBQ Index

By Amanda Brodhagen,

As we approach Fourth of July celebrations in the United States, Rabobank’s 2014 BBQ Index couldn’t have come out at a better time. The annual index comparison examines the cost of a 10-person BBQ, comparing figures dating back to 2004.

"While commodity price fluctuations are not always passed on to retail prices, American consumers will feel some significant market changes this Fourth of July," Bill Cordingley, Head of Food and Agribusiness Research at Rabobank said in a release.

Rabobank BBQ Index (party of 10-adults):

  • 2004 - $51.90
  • 2007 (during the financial crisis) - $55.62
  • 2014 - $66.82

The numbers are based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which takes into consideration key BBQ ingredients.

Ingredients - BBQ Index Breakdown:


  • Beef – 71% increase in five years and 14% increase in 2013
  • Chicken – Up 3% over five years and a 1% increase in 20013 (overall prices remain flat)
  • Note: Beef and chicken combined make up one-quarter of the index
  • Rabobank analysis say that U.S. cattle herds are the smallest in 63-years.


  • Cheese and ice cream prices have increased 15% in five years
  • Cheese prices have increased by 11% in the last year
  • While U.S. demand for dairy products has slowed, demand in China and other export markets continues to rise


  • Beer – makes up 28% of the total BBQ cost for 10 people i.e. the cost of 20 beers has increased by 10% in the past five years
  • Soda – prices have increased 4% in the last five years


  • Wheat – prices are dropping
  • Chips –prices are down because consumers are moving to healthier snacks


  • Tomato – prices in 2013 increased by 12%

While BBQ prices have risen over the last five years, let’s hope it doesn’t prevent you from hosting a 4th of July party. Time to fire up the grill!

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