Grocery shopping is something most of us do on auto-pilot. Grabbing food staples at the store is such an everyday activity that it’s hard to imagine the experience being very different.
The where, when, and how, however, of grocery shopping actually varies a great deal from country to country.
We used Numbeo’s cost of living calculator to compare the price of food across the globe and collected insights into what grocery shopping looks like around the world.
You may want to wear gloves in Italian grocery stores.
Grocery shopping in Italy is normally done in local stores, though outdoor markets are also popular spots to shop for food in big cities and more rural areas.
According to Tripsavvy, it’s common practice to don disposable plastic gloves to pick out your fruits and vegetables in a grocery store. Shoppers are also expected to weigh and label their own produce before they get to the checkout line.
At outdoor markets, shoppers are generally not required to wear gloves but are expected to indicate to the seller which items they wish to purchase, rather than picking them up directly. Italians also like to purchase fresh and cured meats at their local deli.
In a large city like Rome, a gallon of milk costs an average of €4.26 ($5.21). You can find a bottle of mid-range wine for €5 ($5.84). A pound of local cheese will cost about €5.07, ($5.92).
Grocery stores in Germany have restrictive hours.
According to The German Way, most Germans do their grocery shopping in chain stores such as Lidle, Aldo, Kaufland, and Edeka. Discount grocery stores are popular but tend to offer a more limited selection, while larger chain stores offer greater variety.
Many German grocery stores use a coin deposit system to make sure all carts are returned to their proper place. This involves feeding a euro coin into slot on the handle of a grocery cart to release it for use and returning the cart to its place in order to retrieve your coin.
Grocery stores are also popular places to return bottles for recyclingdue to the Pfand deposit program, which offers recyclers between €0.08 and €0.25 for each bottle returned.
In general, German grocery stores in cities are closed on Sundays and shut their doors at 8 p.m. Stores in smaller towns may have even more restrictive hours.
If you’re looking to pick up milk in a city like Berlin, expect to pay around €3.06 ($3.57) for a gallon. You’ll also find beef to be about €5.35 ($6.24) per pound, while a half-liter bottle of domestic beer will cost approximately €0.77 ($0.90).
Eggs and milk are not refrigerated in France.
France has a wide range of grocery stores and supermarkets, including popular chains like Monoprix, Carrefour, Netto, and Auchan.
According to Oui in France, most grocery stores open around 9 a.m. and close by 8 p.m. Large and small stores are closed on Sundays, and shops in small towns sometimes close for lunch and reopen in the afternoon. Shoppers are expected to bring their own bags and weigh their own produce before taking it to the register. Both milk and eggs are shelved at room temperature.
Verily Mag reported that the French are more likely to shop dailyrather than weekly and often head to their local bakery to pick up bread and pastries.
Grocery stores in Japan usually only sell food.
Grocery stores in Japan differ from American supermarkets in that they frequently only sell food, according to GaijinPot. Though shoppers don’t expect to be able to pick up home goods, electronics, or toiletries in a small grocery store, these items can be found in a large supermarket.
Japanese grocery stores are also known for offering a large selection of seasonal produce and being limited in their selection of imported snacks or cooking ingredients. Japan-guide.com said that grocery stores are hard to find in the centers of major Japanese cities, where 24-hour convenience stores are more widespread. Many grocery stores charge a few yen for plastic shopping bags, and shopping carts frequently feature frames into which baskets slot.
In a major city like Tokyo, you can expect to pay around ¥711.41($6.33) for a gallon of milk. You can pick up a mid-range bottle of wine for around ¥1,500.00 ($13.35) and a one-pound sack of potatoes will cost you ¥192.69 ($1.72).
Many people in China order their groceries online.
According to Ruby Ronin, many Chinese people opt to shop at open-air markets or bazaars for their fresh produce. These markets can open as early as 5 a.m. and offer local produce and meat that is sometimes killed to order.
Saxoncourt reported that Chinese grocery stores often display cuts of meat in large, open-fronted refrigerators and butchers cut portions as needed. Shopping online for groceries is also popular in China. The country actually has the world’s largest online grocery market, according to IGD.
UK grocery stores cover their produce in plastic.
The UK’s grocery store landscape is dominated by Tesco and Sainsbury’s. Grocery stores in the UK often cover fresh produce in plastic wrap, which has led to criticism from consumers and environmental groups. Even items such as individual heads of lettuce and broccoli are shrink-wrapped. Eggs in UK grocery stores are kept at room temperature, though milk is usually refrigerated.
Many stores require shoppers to deposit a pound coin into their grocery carts in order to use them in the store. Shoppers can retrieve their coin upon returning the cart to its proper place at the end of their shopping trip. Business Insider also reported that people in the UK are more likely to opt for daily trips to pick up essentials rather than a large weekly shopping trip.
A gallon of milk in a typical UK grocery store costs around £3.50($4.61). You can actually pick up a pound of beef for £3.59 ($4.72), just a few pence more. A pound of apples costs roughly £0.94 ($1.23).
Australia has some of the highest grocery prices in the world.
The Daily Meal reported that the two largest grocery chains in Australia are Woolworths and Coles. They account for 80% of the market share in the country. Woolworth’s offers organic, vegetarian, and gluten-free options that are popular with shoppers.
According to the Education Abroad Network, eggs are normally not refrigerated and supermarkets are regularly located in shopping malls. Due to the high cost of importing goods to the island nation, Compare the Market reported that Australia has some of the highest grocery prices in the world.
In Greece, people tend to do their grocery shopping at a variety of stores.
Grocery shopping in Greece can take place in large supermarkets, local grocery stores, or open-air markets. Outdoor markets typically sell everything from fresh fruit to local honey and meats, with the best items available in the early morning.
Greeks in smaller towns also tend to visit different shops for different food items – you might visit the butcher for meat, the fish shop for seafood, and a local bakery for bread and pastries, according to AthensFever.
Groceries in South Africa tend to be more inexpensive than in North America.
Popular grocery stores in South Africa include Pic and Pay, Woolworth’s, and Shoprite. According to The South African, some urbanites opt to shop for their groceries online. The Financial Times reported that open-air markets are common places to shop for everything from produce to household supplies, but that supermarkets are becoming more widespread. Goats on the Road also advised that grocery store pricing is much less expensive than in North America.
In Cape Town, you can find a gallon of milk for around R 47.66($3.20) and a pound of beef for about R 45.50 ($3.06). If you want a pound of tomato, expect to pay about R 7.12($0.48).
It’s hard to find pet food in Brazilian grocery stores.
The largest grocery store chain in Brazil is Extra, according to The Daily Meal. Daily Rio Life advised that domestically produced food items tend to be relatively inexpensive in Brazil, though imported goods can be expensive. Farmers markets are popular spots to stock up on fresh produce, and bakeries are the preferred places to buy bread.
Supermarket chains are easy to find in large cities, according to Maria-Brazil. Residents of smaller towns and suburbs tend to rely on local shops for their groceries. Shoppers must weigh and label their own produce, but many shops will deliver groceries to your home for no extra charge.
You’ll find a butcher in most Brazilian supermarkets, but pet food is much harder to find. Many locals opt to buy bones and cheap cuts of meat at the grocery store to feed their dogs and cats instead of hunting for pre-packaged pet food.
In a mid-sized Brazilian city, the average cost for a gallon of milk is R$11.36 ($2.73 USD). A pound of apples costs R$3.18 ($0.76 USD) and a pound of beef will run you R$12.10 ($2.91 USD).
Source: Business Insider