The Price Gap Between Eating In And Dining Out Is Bigger Than Ever

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New Year's resolutions often involve one of two things: getting healthy and being smarter with money. Cooking at home, then, is a great way to hit two birds with one stone — especially these days. Eating at home has always been cheaper than dining out, but according to 2017 data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, that price gap is at an all-time high. While dining in has actually gotten less expensive over the last year, restaurant meals have gotten pricier, which means the best thing you can do for your wallet is cook at home.

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Food For Thought

As the USDA reported in February 2017, the average price of food-at-home purchases (translation: grocery-store items), went down 1.3 percent in 2016, marking the first drop in supermarket prices since 1967. (The 20-year historical average for groceries has been an annual increase of 2.2 percent.) Combine that with the fact that food-away-from-home prices (translation: restaurant purchases) increased 2.6 percent, significantly higher than the 2016 overall rate of inflation of 1.4 percent, and you see how cooking at home can save you more now than ever.

Get Cooking

Good news for omnivores: The overall decrease in grocery prices can be attributed to price drops in staples like beef, which dipped in price by 6.3 percent in 2016, and eggs, which dropped a whopping 21.2 percent. Restaurant price increases, on the other hand, are due to the labor costs of running a restaurant. As Nation's Restaurant News explains, "Because restaurants are so labor intensive, labor costs are a bigger concern for that industry. So rising minimum wage and other labor costs are putting pressure on operators to keep raising prices."

So what's a foodie to do? Companies like Home Chef, which deliver ingredients and recipes to your door, might be the best of both worlds. Meals like BBQ Shrimp Pizza and Fig-Glazed Pork Tenderloin read like they came off a restaurant menu, but the price tags (which start at $9.95 per meal) are akin to the grocery store. In fact, some reports have found that Home Chef prices can be even cheaper than the supermarket. So next time you want a date night, a celebratory meal, or just a notch above your weeknight mac n cheese, skip the corner bistro and channel your inner chef. Your wallet will thank you.

Get $30 off your first Home Chef order when you use the code CURIOUS.

Watch and Learn: Our Favorite Videos About Cooking

The Birth Of The Recipe

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How Will We Cook In The Future?

Written by Curiosity Staff March 31, 2017 / Updated: December 16, 2017
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