I used to hate grocery shopping when I lived in Israel. It has always been a mission impossible: a battle for a free parking place, overcrowded supermarket full of loud people, enormous prices, maneuvering between overloaded trolleys and endless line to the cashier. In addition, in a regular kosher supermarket, you cannot buy such products as prawns, mules or any other seafood, some cheeses as well as pork or duck meat, obviously. As well as tasty bread. So you will have to visit at least one additional non-kosher supermarket and a bakery.When we moved to Germany, I was very pleased to discover the difference.
There are at least six grocery shops in our small town for every taste from discounters such as Norma, Lidl, Aldi, Kaufland to more expensive such as Rewe and Edeka. I prefer Edeka despite the fact it is a little bit more expensive. But, even in the most expensive supermarket, the most expensive food will be still cheaper than regular food in a regular Israeli supermarket! During first months, when I realized our food expenses here, I was in constant shock of how much money we spent on food when we lived in Israel.
The funniest thing is that some Israeli products here will cost you cheaper than in Israel. And hummus as well. Such a shame!
How much does it cost?
We are a family of three and we spend approximately 100-120 €/week for food and household chemicals. This amount includes lunches at work for my husband; it includes fresh bread from the bakery, it includes all baby stuff such as diapers, baby food & snacks etc. I think if we would like to save a little bit, we could easily cut our expenses and 80 € still would be enough. It is 30% cheaper than in Israel. But if I would like to buy exactly the same products it would be even 50% cheaper.
Some prices, just, for example, fresh bread loaf from the bakery 1.5 € -2.5 €, milk – 0.79 €, yogurt – 0.75 €, blue cheese (100 g) – 0.89 € – 2.69 €, Italian bio mozzarella – 0.89 €, Gouda cheese (450 g) – 2.15 €, bacon (100 g) – 0.89 €, potatos (1 kg)- 0.78 €, zuccini (1 kg) – 1.99 €, fresh Salmon fillet (100 g)- 1.99 €, eggs (10) – 1.09 €. Not to mention prices for beer (0.5 l) – 0.79 €.
Germans do not buy many because rented apartments usually do not have pantries or a room for a large freezer. Oh, I love German ladies and their cute wicker baskets with three tomatoes, one cucumber, celery, a slab of cheese and fresh bread.
Unlike Israelis who shop once a week on Fridays, Germans buy groceries 2-3 times a week in order to get everything fresh so there are many small and large grocery stores everywhere. I think it is very comfortable because you do not need a car, everything within walking distance.
Well here is the thing: no night shopping, no evening shopping either. They are open until 8 PM and closed on Sundays and holidays. There are very very few 24-hours stores or pharmacies.
Self-scanners are rare, only in big supermarkets. No baggers so you need to pack your stuff by yourself and better you do it fast. Cashiers scan everything with a speed of light, no small talks or any other distractions. They say cashier salary depends on how many goods he or she have scanned during the day. Payment is a cash or debit card, credit cards are very rare may be accepted too but are uncommon for day-to-day business in Germany. Frankly speaking I am always frustrated at checkout, when cashier scans the products with a “the-faster-the-better” face, while I’m trying to handle the bagging with “as-fast-as-I-can” face, while my baby is wailing and trying to commit suicide, jumping out of a stroller and here is she, the old German lady, standing next in line and staring at me with an “oh-God-I-am-so-late-because-of-her” face. Stressful.
But overall it is a fun. Especially prices. Ah, and the food is very tasty. Very. Even for vegetarians like me who eat grass, basically.