Americans are eating out more and buying more prepared foods — even though the cost of doing so is rising much more quickly than the cost of buying groceries.

The cost of “food away from home” — the U.S. government’s category for eating out — rose 2.6 percent in the past year, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics cited in a story on

By contrast, the costs of “foods at home” — groceries — has risen just .5 percent in the past year.

Many staples — including cheese and some meats — are cheaper than they were a year ago, according to government figures cited in the story.

Sales of foods away from home have been surging for years and could soon hit all-time highs, according to the story.