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Eating in versus eating out in Alberta

Eating in versus eating out in Alberta

Posted on: 10/2/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

The amount spent on going out to restaurants and bars in Alberta is slowly catching up to the amount spent at grocery and liquor stores.

About $9.3 billion was spent in restaurants and bars in Alberta between August 2017 and July 2018 compared to $14.7 billion at grocery and liquor stores. Put another way, eating out accounted for 39 per cent of total food and beverage sales compared to 61 per cent for eating in. In the United States, the proportions are almost 50-50.

It’s not a perfect measure because Albertans buy items other than food and beverages at grocery stores (everything from shampoo and diapers to magazines and prescriptions), it does not include groceries purchased at warehouse clubs such as Costco and tourists account for a significant portion of spending at restaurants and bars.

Nonetheless, it is interesting to note that the proportion of total food and beverage sales spent on eating out has grown from 34 per cent in 2005 to 39 per cent in 2018. The same pattern is evident in Canada as a whole with spending on eating out going from 32 per cent to 36 per cent.

These statistics don’t tell us if this is because the cost of eating out is on the rise relative to the cost of groceries or because we are eating out more than before. Either way, the shift in spending toward restaurants and bars is one we will want to watch as it may be signalling a fundamental change in our eating and spending habits.

Thanks to Owl reader Alex G. for suggesting this topic!

Restaurant and bar spending, Alberta

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