The Real Cost of a $6 July 4th Picnic? 1,700 Calories and 98.7 Grams of Fat


The American Farm Bureau Federation recently announced that you can throw a July 4th picnic for less than $6 per person.  Not withstanding the food justice problem (the foods on the list are of the lowest quality), I’m  thinking this isn’t a very healthy picnic that we are having.

The American Farm Bureau Federation (the same trade group that has all sorts of questionable lobbying activities going on and wants congress to support biofuel for the defense department) calculated the average retail prices in a July Fourth Picnic Survey for hot dogs and buns, cheeseburgers and buns, pork spare ribs, deli potato salad, baked beans, corn chips, lemonade, chocolate milk, watermelon for dessert, and ketchup and mustard:

picnic prices

According to data gathered a, when you count the calories for the $6 picnic meal it amounts to 1,713. That’s more than 85% of the average persons recommended daily calorie intake.  When you look at the total fat in the $6 picnic it logs in at 98.7 grams of fat.  If you figure on a 2,000 calorie diet which recommends no more than 65 grams of fat daily, 98.7 grams of fat is more than 150% of the recommended fat intake.  Here’s how it break out:

picnic fat

It looks like the American Farm Bureau Federation is trying to pitch low quality, high fat foods as the quintessential American meal. Is that really the best they can do?


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About the Author

is a former marketing consultant who decided, at the age of fifty, to turn her hand to creative non-fiction. Jennifer continues to write about sustainable food and wine, the intersection of food and marketing and food politics for and is the author of Greening Your Small Business (November 2009, Penguin Group (USA)). She was named one of The 16 Women You Must Follow on Twitter for Green Business. She has four kids, a dog, a hamster and an MBA – follow her on and .