U.S. food prices have been on an absolute tear over the past few years, jumping nearly 10% in 2022, up another 5.8% in 2023 and, while the rate of increases has slowed somewhat so far this year, overall pricing on food continues to rise.

But in its annual Fourth of July report, Wells Fargo’s Agri-Food Institute found those hosting 2024 Independence Day celebrations can keep their holiday budgets in check by simply doing the cooking themselves.

And a prime example of where those savings can be harvested comes in comparing the current cost of summertime favorite hamburgers cooked at home versus fetched from your favorite burger joint.

“The current cost to prepare a home-cooked quarter-pound burger with cheese, tomato and lettuce at home is $2.16 per burger, while an average sampling of five popular quick service restaurants shows the average price is $6.95,” Agri-Food analysts wrote in the new report. “That means, for a party of 10, the home chef will save a total of $47.90 on burgers by firing up the grill.”

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Chips and soda

Choose a classic side like potato salad to keep those budget savings going, with the price of potatoes now running an average of 96 cents per pound around the country, down 4.4% from last year. And even prepared potato salad has a slight bargain edge on last year’s prices, down nearly 1%.

Chips and dips could be a great addition to the family Fourth of July this year with the price of potato chips up moderately from a year ago but guacamole going for 1.1% less than this time last summer.

Discretion will be key, according to the Wells Fargo economists, when filling coolers up with favorite beverages. While canned soft drinks have seen ongoing price hikes, thanks in large part to heftier aluminum costs, picking up your favorite soda in a plastic 2-liter bottle will go down smoothly at the checkout aisle with prices for drinks in that packaging down 6.5% in the past year.

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Looking for something sweet

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When it comes to adding a sweet treat to Independence Day menus, fresh fruit is looking like the move this year over options found in the dessert aisle.

Ice cream prices across the country are up 3.3% in the past 12 months, prepared cupcakes up 5.6% and even boxed cake mixes jumping by 6.6% in the last year.

For those wondering where U.S. food prices may be headed for the remainder of the year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is predicting a mixed bag when it comes to food price trends.

Farm-level prices for eggs and milk are likely headed up in 2024, with the USDA predicting increases of 2.7% and 1.8% in 2024, while farm-level wheat prices, which can impact a wide array of grocery items, are projected to drop over 12% by the end of the year.

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