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Thanksgiving inflation may mean eating out is most economical

With inflation soaring, it may be less expensive for some families to eat this year’s Thanksgiving meal at a restaurant. For a list of open restaurants, see below.

Grocery inflation is rising so much that smaller families might want to consider eating out for Thanksgiving, experts say. For a family of four, the cost could be similar, and eating out would be the most economically beneficial this year. However, for a bigger family gathering, it will be more economical to eat at home.

A Facebook survey of Metro Voice readers finds that people are evenly split. When asked if the would consider eating out for Thanksgiving to save money, 50 percent said yes, while 50 percent said no.

The cost of staples from poultry to fruits will outpace the total food-at-home and food-away-from home categories on the Consumer Price Index, according to a recent Wells Fargo report. Turkey prices alone are projected to rise as much as 23 percent compared to the fourth quarter last year. Turkey supplies also will be limited because of the continuing impact of the highly pathogenic Avian Influenza.

“Turkey prices jumped after the bird flu wiped out livestock earlier this year,” the report said. “While inventory has rebounded, the cost per pound will be higher.”

READ: What’s the real history of Thanksgiving?

Meanwhile, eggs, which also have been affected by the bird flu, already have risen 35.5 percent, while butter and flour have risen 25.8 percent and 17.1 percent, respectively, according to the analysts. So far, fruits and vegetables have had the lowest cost increase, with prices rising 7.3 percent.

Consumers also are going to see a difference in popular side dishes, such as potatoes and cranberry sauce, because of weather issues and a rise in input costs this year. For instance, the cooler spring in Idaho and Washington delayed crops of potatoes and onions, while the hotter temperatures in California coupled with the drought shrunk the yield of celery, carrot and onion crops, according to the report.

Some of the restaurants open on Thanksgiving include: Golden Corral, TGI Friday’s, Tony Roma’s, Fogo de Chao, Ruby Tuesday, The Capital Grille, Buca di Beppo, Marie Callender’s, Applebee’s, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Bob Evans, Denny’s, and Cracker Barrel.

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice

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