Inflation Bites More at Grocery Stores Than Restaurants

Off the Charts: The Visual Says It All

Senior woman removing grocery from shopping bag while using digital tablet in kitchen.
Photo:

Maskot/Getty Images

With food prices as high as they are, is cooking at home even worth it?

Sure, it may seem like the better choice when faced with soaring inflation, but here’s a statistic that may surprise you: In the month of February alone, the cost of groceries rose 1.4%, more than three times as fast as the cost of eating out, according to new government data. As the chart below shows, the annual inflation rate for “food at home,” as the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls groceries, is now higher than for “food away from home.”

“This is getting out of hand!” one Twitter user recently mused about the grocery bills. “It’s legit cheaper to eat out.”

So far, though, price hikes have people cutting back more on restaurant meals than groceries, if recent survey data is any indication. Economists say budget-constrained households are more likely to reduce spending on discretionary items like dining out or travel than staples like groceries. In fact, in a Morning Consult survey taken in mid-February, price concerns were more likely to discourage those considering eating out or getting takeout than those deciding which grocery items to select, by a margin of 49% to 30%.

Have a question, comment, or story to share? You can reach Diccon at dhyatt@thebalance.com.

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Sources
The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Consumer Price Index Summary - 2022 M02 Results.”

  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “12-Month Percentage Change, Consumer Price Index, Selected Categories.”

  3. Morning Consult. “US Economic Outlook: Ukraine Conflict Adds to Inflation Woes.”

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