Prices in Switzerland - Supermarket Deli

Shopping in Switzerland - Supermarket deli counter - prices of meat

Before getting to Switzerland I'd heard from a number of travellers that it was unexpectedly expensive. In a way everyone expects things to cost more there - its sort of always been that way. Lately however, the Swiss franc has increased against most currencies, particularly against the US dollar, UK pound and the Euro. Having booked a hostel dorm bed for 30 Euros a night I was prepared for higher prices (by comparison most other developed countries in Europe have dorm beds for 15-20 euros per night).

On the way in I took a peek into McDonalds and was a little bit shocked at what I found: a small Big Mac Meal cost CHF11.50 or US$14.33 - about double that of neighbouring European countries!

Swiss Supermarket Grocery Prices

In some ways, a supermarket is a better indication of prices. Its also a great place to get a better understanding of a place than looking at the landmarks. As it turned out I also needed a place out of the rain, so spent a bit more time than usual wandering around the supermarkets in Lucerne. Some products seemed expensive, but still within a reasonable range, the one product I found to be far more expensive than anywhere else was meat. I ended up actually eating really well by stocking up on bread, cheeses, fresh vegetables and of course chocolate and spent about $30 for 2 days food.

The prices you can see in the main image above look ok, until you see that they're quoting price per 100g, not per kilogram. Wandering around the supermarket, the cheapest I could find was some kind of hamburger meat at CHF 26/kg.

While writing this post, I had a quick look at online prices for grocers that deliver food in various countries (Amazon Fresh for the US, Woolworths online for Australia, Tesco for the UK, Kaisers for Germany and Migros for Switzerland). Its impossible to really do this sort of comparison fairly - there's too many variables, but I found the exercise quite interesting. In particular it reinforced my suspicion that prices in Australia at the moment are at the very top end of the range for many things.

Price comparisons:

Ground Beef - 1kg$9.55$8.76$8.60$6.53$22
Eggs - doz$2.99$5.33$3.25$3.26$5.73
Tomatoes 1kg$4.60$7.05$2.85$2.85$3.61
Coke 2l$1.99$4.31$2.87$2.90$3.66
Lindt 100g$3.29$4.37$2.85$2.85$2.80

In practice, I find shopping in Germany to be cheaper than the above suggests, because there's a lot of discount supermarkets around such as Aldi and Lidl. I'm not going to list the price of beer because I think it would upset too many readers outside Germany.

Another odd thing I discovered was that there was horse meat on sale "Manufactured in Switzerland from meat imported from Canada" - the thing I'm puzzled about is what actually goes into manufacturing meat that can be done in Switzerland!?

So the moral of the story: While in Switzerland, eat Chocolate, Cheese and Vegetarian food!

Daily Travel Photo Notes:

Canon 5D Mark 2 + 17-40mm f4 L - 40mm, f4.5 ISO 3200 1/400 sec.

This shot was one of a few in the supermarket in Lucern - my aim was just to get some shots for my blog, so wasn't too worried about the high ISO - at web size its not a problem. My main issue was getting a useable shot in case someone told me to stop shooting - its not easy to be discrete with a big camera in these situations! There's no flash on the 5D (and i wouldn't use it if there was for this sort of shot) so I was making sure that the shutter speed was going to be high enough to get a sharp shot. On the first image the focus is on the front edge of the ham - everything behind that drops off in sharpness due to the relatively wide aperture.

  • Photo 1: Supermarket Deli Meats
  • Photo 2: Horse Meat from Canada: US$41/kg
  • Photo 3: Irish Beef - Steak: US$61/kg
Click through to the full blog article for a few more photos, a price comparison of groceries, some random rambling!
Horse Meat from Canada: US$41/kg
Irish Beef: US$61/kg



I'm not surprised to see Australian's paying such high prices world wide, its about on par with many other aspects of the retail industry which treats Australians as something of a cash cow. Some interesting reading on Crikey:

However, its worth pointing out that bargains can be had for the scrupulous shopper. For instance, you can buy meat at the local market (South Melbourne or Queen Victoria Markets here in Melbourne) for down to $6/KG or less on a Sunday afternoon. The reason for this being that markets are typically closed on Monday and are therefore heavily discounting produce that will spoil.

Yep really pays to shop around - and import things yourself by ordering on line and get a product at a cheaper price and GST-free that way.

One thing that's really irritating is when software companies try to charge you double the US price for a piece of software that doesn't even ship in any physical form.

The swiss like their own production - own wine, meat, vegetables.. But I guess there's just not enough. At the beginning I was shocked, too, with it's prices (specially in terms of meat and fish!). I come from the spanish coast and was used to buy big piecs of fresh fish for 4-5 euro.. And now I need to spend 20 for the same portion! Then again, at least the quality is very good... No complaints on that.

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