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Holiday cookouts could cost upwards of 17% more amid soaring inflation

Inflation, the war in Ukraine, and COVID-era supply chain issues are partly to blame.

SUMTER, S.C. — After a year of record-high inflation, shoppers are likely expecting to pay more for groceries this Independence Day.

So, how much more could they pay, and when could prices decrease?

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, cookout costs are up roughly 17% compared to last year.

Two pounds of ground beef could cost over $11, two pounds of chicken breast could cost around $9, and three pounds of pork chops could cost over $15.

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It's partly due to COVID-era supply chain issues, making some products harder to find.

But Dr. William Hauk, an associate professor of economics at the University of South Carolina, suggests there's another problem. 

"The war in Ukraine and the removal of Russian oil and gas from world markets," Hauk said.

Despite this, grocery sales seem to be remaining strong this holiday, including in Sumter where Lynn Kennedy owns Carnivore Butcher and Bottle.

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"We're selling everything from steak to chicken," Kennedy said. "We've actually sold out of hamburgers... As long as gas is fluctuating, everybody's prices and goods are going to fluctuate because they're having to add transportation to the price of the products... I'm hoping it's going to change for the better soon."

So, when could shoppers see some relief?

The federal government is hoping that raising interest rates and curbing consumer demand will help.

"Maybe, by the end of this year, the worst will be past us," Dr. Hauk said. "But it's always hard to predict the future."

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To save a few dollars this season, Wells Fargo is recommending some changes to the holiday menu such as adding tacos, which can be a cheaper alternative to other foods, as well as homemade ice cream, and bargain beverages.

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