The 2015 Rabobank BBQ Index Reviews Commodities Fueling U.S. BBQ Prices

NEW YORK, June 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — In just a few days, Americans planning to roll out their grills for Independence Day barbeques will also need to pull out another dollar from their wallets. The second annual Rabobank BBQ Index reveals that’s how much more the average 10-person barbecue will cost in 2015 due to rising

Second annual Rabobank BBQ Index reveals yearly cost increases for many barbeque favorites (PRNewsFoto/Rabobank)
Second annual Rabobank BBQ Index reveals yearly cost increases for many barbeque favorites (PRNewsFoto/Rabobank)

commodity prices.

Each year, the Rabobank BBQ Index uses data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to check prices and track changes for everything from burgers to ice cream. Since 2004, when the average cost for feeding 10 people at a barbeque was just $51.90, the price has steadily increased. For 2015, Fourth of July hosts can expect to pay$68.22 before the first fireworks crackle.

“Consumers will get some relief from dairy products this Fourth of July, with both the cost of cheese and ice cream coming in 2.2 percent and 4.4 percent lower than in 2014, respectively,” said Ross Colbert, Head of Food and Agribusiness Research at Rabobank. “Unfortunately for barbeque hosts, those types of discounts do not apply to other popular commodities like beef, tomatoes and lettuce, all of which have risen in price since 2014 from 6.2 to 7.3 percent. This is the second year in a row that we’ve seen substantial price increases for retail ground beef, the center of many American barbecues.”

2015 BBQ Index Breakdown

Meat: Once again beef is the main driver of barbeque cost increases, as prices rose another seven percent from last year’s record amounts. For the past five years, that marks an increase of about 80 percent, due to growing international beef demands and an inability for the market to keep up with the supply necessary for serving that demand. This means that opting to serve chicken, which saw prices ease by about two percent in 2015, instead of beef could save consumers up to 10 percent of burgers costs this year. That is a savings of about $2.

Dairy: After jumping in cost by 15 percent between 2009 and 2014, retail cheese and ice cream prices are finally cooling off for consumers. In fact, international dairy commodity prices in general have eased in 2015 due to an oversupply in the global market.

Beverages: Save some cash by making this year’s party BYOB. While only experiencing a small cost increase since 2014 (0.4 percent), more expensive “craft” beers continue to push domestic and premium prices upward. In fact, beer costs account for 28 percent of the total barbecue expenses. Soda prices are also slowly on the rise, but only by 0.9 percent since last year.

Bread/Snacks: While bread prices were flat in 2014, this year they bumped up about 4.5 percent due to wheat supply issues. Chip prices are also on the rise, after coming down in price in 2014.

Veggies: The drought in California may have played a role in increased prices for tomatoes (up by 6.8 percent from 2014) and lettuce (up by 6.2 percent from 2014). Pickles also rose in cost by 3.6 percent this year, bringing the bill to about $3.64 for barbeques. Even with these increases, vegetables remain the lowest percentage of overall barbeque costs.

* On a liquid milk equivalent (LME) basis

** March 2014 journal Annals of Internal Medicine

Overview Rationale and Methodology

The Rabobank BBQ Index assumes an average American family/neighborly BBQ situation that could take place over the U.S. Independence Day celebration. The Index assumes an average of 10 adults attends; hypothetically, each person consumes the same amount of food and beer. Each individual is estimated to consume two burgers (one chicken, one beef) with a slice of cheese, five handfuls of chips, a couple of beers, a can of soda, a pickle and a couple scoops of ice cream.

As a means of comparison, the BBQ Index parallels the Bureau of Labor Statistics as a data source. The series we selected was the “average price index, US city average”, which is a monthly series. The Index is based on the January 1, 2000 price. The formula for the weighting is (sum of component*weighting) / (base sum of component*weighting)*) 100.

Components and Weighting by Value:

  • Lettuce – $1.06 (up from $0.99 in 2014): 2% of total barbecue
  • Tomatoes – $2.09 (up from $1.95): 3%
  • Cheese – $2.87 (down from $2.90): 4%
  • Bread – $2.93 (up from $2.80): 4%
  • Soda – $3.61 (up from $3.58): 5%
  • Pickles – $3.64 (up from $3.51): 5%
  • Chips – $4.43 (up from $4.37): 7%
  • Chicken – $8.52 (down from 8.62): 13%
  • Beef – $10.34 (up from $9.64): 15%
  • Ice Cream – $9.39 (down from $9.82): 14%
  • Beer – $19.35 (up from $18.59): 28%

Total Volumes:

  • Chips – 16 oz (5 handfuls per person)
  • Pickle – 24 oz (1 pickle per person)
  • Soda – 120 oz (1 can of soda per person)
  • Tomatoes –1.2 lbs (2 slices per person)
  • Cheese –2 lbs (2-3 slices per person)
  • Bread –2.4 lbs (2 buns per person)
  • Beef –2.5 lbs (1 quarter pound burger per person)
  • Chicken –2.5 lbs (1 chicken sandwich per person)
  • Ice Cream – 1/2 gal (1-2 bowls per person)
  • Lettuce –1 lb (1-2 leaves per person)
  • Beer – 24 oz (2, 12 oz per person)

About Rabobank
Rabobank Group is a global financial services leader providing wholesale and retail banking, leasing, and real estate services in more than 40 countries worldwide.  Founded over a century ago, Rabobank today is one of the largest banks in the world, with nearly $1 trillion in assets, and operations in more than 45 countries.  In the Americas, Rabobank is a premier bank to the food, agribusiness and beverage industry, providing sector expertise, strategic counsel and tailored financial solutions to clients across the entire food value chain.

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SOURCE Rabobank

CONTACT: Media Contact, Catharine Rossano,, 212.808.2576


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