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Inflation is making pizza more appealing this Thanksgiving

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Turkeys now cost $1.99 a pound in parts of the country, compared to $1.15 a pound a year ago, according to the USDA.

Thanksgiving dinner is going to be more expensive this year, leaving many Americans seeking alternative ways to celebrate.

From bird flu reducing the supply of turkeys, to California’s drought shrinking vegetable yields and a labor shortage impacting workers available to process and transport food, prices are up across the board, Wells Fargo Chief Agricultural Economist Michael Swanson said. Turkeys now cost $1.99 a pound in parts of the country, compared to $1.15 a pound a year ago, according to the USDA. And sides have also seen a dramatic increase, with potatoes up 18%, canned fruit and vegetables up 19% and butter up 27% over last year, according to September inflation data.

A survey by online financial adviser Personal Capital said 1 in 5 Americans doubted whether they would have enough money to cover the cost of Thanksgiving this year. They said they are cutting back by hosting smaller dinners, eliminating at least one dish to save money, and asking guests to bring their own alcoholic beverages.

Gen Z, the demographic that feels the most financially constrained, is opting for meals of soup, salad and pizza. They’re also more willing to ask friends to pay their share of the feast.

Limited-service restaurants, where you pay before you eat, have become an option for those wanting a catered meal since they’ve been slower to raise prices. In this category, chains like Boston Market are offering meals-to-go with roasted turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry relish, dinner rolls and apple pie for less than it costs to make at home, in some cases.

Swanson said the premium on dining out has never been smaller. Inflation in the “food-away-from-home” category is rising at a slower rate than for groceries.

“For anyone who wants to pamper themselves and forgo the hassle of cooking and cleaning up at home, this could be the year to book your favorite restaurant,” he said. “Just call ahead as many are short-staffed and not all restaurants are open.”

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