US NEWS – Food prices are falling, so why isn’t the price of your favorite restaurant meal?

Restaurants are raising prices after years of stagnant growth, citing swelling labor costs that are offsetting the benefits of lower food prices. But their competition isn’t budging. Grocery stores, which have ramped up their prepared food options markedly in recent years, are passing those lower costs onto consumers as they compete among themselves for a bigger slice of the market.

The result?

The gap between the cost of eating at home and eating at a restaurant is the widest in decades.

Over the last year, a government index measuring grocery prices has fallen by 2.2 percent, the largest decline since December 2009, near the recession’s peak. In contrast, the index measuring the cost of food eaten away from home, or restaurant prices, has risen 2.4 percent. The difference in prices between eating out and eating at home is now the widest in 30 years.

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