NEW YORK (AP) - This may be hard to swallow as you get ready to fire up the barbecue for the start of the summer cookout season.
It'll cost more than it did last year to roast a burger, or just about any other barbecue favorite, on the grill.
Food inflation is the highest in almost two decades. It's being driven not only by record prices for oil and gas -- but by mounting global demand for staples such as wheat and corn, and for proteins such as chicken.
The average cost of a Memorial Day barbecue -- with burgers, hot dogs, beer, soda, condiments, salad, paper plates and lighter fluid -- could run families about 6 percent more than last year.
The surge in prices is forcing people to try to cut corners and find bargains where they can, such as buying store brands, which tend to cost less than name brands.