Will It Be Cheaper to Dine Out This Thanksgiving? Some Analysts Say Yes

Dinner with friends.
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Because of inflation and the ensuing soaring food prices, this year, some analysts say it might be cheaper to dine out for Thanksgiving. Indeed, a new IRI report found that because of inflation, Thanksgiving meals will cost a whopping 13.5% more this year.

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Even with sales in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, prices will still likely be higher than in the same period a year ago, Alastair Steel, executive of IRI Client Engagement, told CNN.

“Promotions could swing the number a little, but I don’t expect [them] to swing it in a meaningful way,” Steel told CNN. “If anything, there are slightly less promotions,” he said, as manufacturers have been increasing prices as their own costs rise.

And according to the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) report from Oct. 13, some Thanksgiving staples that have enormously increased this year include eggs, up 3.5%; butter, up 26.6%; flour, up 24%; potatoes, up 17.5%; sauces and gravies, up 16.3%.

As for turkey, it’s one of the biggest expense items, estimated to be 23% higher in price than last year in the fourth quarter, according to Wells Fargo. Complicating the matter, “turkey supplies will also be more limited this year due to continuing impacts of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza,” Wells Fargo analysts said.

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And let’s not forget cranberries. Wells Fargo said that “adverse weather and rising input costs are driving up prices. Since most fresh berries are in high demand around Thanksgiving, prices will likely be higher than last year.”

That’s why the analysts recommend that this year, for a cheaper option, canned cranberries may be the way to go.

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Another reason why it might be cheaper to eat out this Thanksgiving, is that in September, the food index increased 0.8%, with the food at home index rising 0.7%, up 13% over the last 12 months, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said on Oct. 13. In comparison, the food away from home index rose 0.9% in September — an 8.5% increase over the past 12 months.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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