If you’re planning a Memorial Day party, you should know that barbecue staples’ prices have increased compared to last year. However, there is some good news to brighten your mood: You’ll receive slightly more beef for your money. Still, if you don’t want to eat your burger plain, you’ll have to spend more on buns.
A study by data-analysis firm Datasembly shows that the cost of condiments has increased the most, with a 27.94% rise in the price of a 32-ounce ketchup bottle, from $4.08 to $5.22, and a 13.04% hike in the price of a 20-ounce container of mustard, from $2.07 to $2.34.
Ground beef for burgers is slightly cheaper per pound on average than last year. However, if you want a steak, it’ll cost around 2.8% more than it did last year, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, published in April. Pork chop prices are also slightly down per pound, while the bone-in chicken increased about 8 cents per pound.
Despite higher costs, Americans won’t be deterred from celebrating this weekend. Data analysis company Numerator discovered that three in four people expect to celebrate in some manner, a proportion almost identical to last year. However, this year, more people are planning to hold or attend parties.
According to Timothy Malefyt, a professor at Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business, Americans just want to enjoy themselves this year.
“People want to feel good again,” Malefyt said, adding that individuals want to distance themselves from the past few years living with the pandemic. Last year, people were still “pulling out” of a pandemic mindset, but this year, they want something “positive and celebratory,” he said. “There’s a sense of enchantment, wanting brands to deliver more, to look back at some of the traditions and times of getting people together. People want to feel good. They want to have a good time.”
Despite higher prices, over three-quarters of consumers are expecting to pay more for their Memorial Day staples, but they’re still willing to celebrate. According to Numerator data, up to 82% of customers will be searching for ways to cut costs. They’ll be on the lookout for sale items, switching to store-brand products, shopping at dollar stores, or purchasing smaller versions of items.
One strategy for people hosting a Memorial Day barbecue on a budget is to take advantage of sales and credit-card cashback deals in the week leading up to the holiday. With meat usually being the most expensive ingredient, savings expert Lisa Thompson, from cash-back offer app Shopmium, recommended creating sliders or smaller-sized burgers rather than the regular third-pound patties. Making chicken or steak kebabs with vegetables is also more cost-effective than serving whole pieces of grilled meat.
Finally, Thompson advises people not to shop while feeling hungry, as it’s not just a cliche; people tend to spend more when they’re hungry, even on non-food items.