Weekly shop index

The bare food essentials such as fruit, vegetables and dairy are part of our weekly grocery shopping lists right around the world, but how does the cost of these necessary items vary from one country to another?
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While tastes and preferences vary around the world, the basics of our weekly food shop are broadly similar, whether it's fruit and vegetables, or staple foods such as rice and eggs.

However, the cost of an essential grocery shop still differs considerably from one country to the next.

If you’re looking to save money on your grocery shop, many supermarkets offer their own credit cards, with a range of benefits for shopping with them, you can compare credit cards to see if you could save.

With that in mind, our personal finance experts analysed the average cost of a weekly shop in 36 countries around the world, as well as how these costs stack up against average earnings in each country.

The most expensive countries for groceries

Weekly shop index -  Image module

1. Switzerland - £35.81/$48.16/€42.89

Switzerland overall is the most expensive country when it comes to a weekly shop, at an estimated cost of £35.81 a week.

Switzerland is known for having a high cost of living, with goods and services tending to be a lot more expensive than in neighbouring European countries.

Meat, in particular, has a high cost in Switzerland, at £5.91 for 300g of chicken fillets and £3.87 for 100g of beef.

2. South Korea - £26.61/$35.78/€31.87

The most expensive country outside of Europe is South Korea, at an estimated weekly grocery cost of £26.61.

The cost of living is especially high in major cities such as the capital, Seoul, with some of the most expensive items in a weekly shop being apples (£2.48 for 500g) and bananas (£1.51 for 600g).

3. Norway - £25.98/$34.93/€31.11

Another European nation known for being expensive to live in is Norway, where an average weekly grocery shop will cost around £26.

A lot of groceries are imported into Norway, which goes some way to explaining why costs are so high here, especially for things such as milk (£1.58 for a litre) and bread (£2.33 for a 500g loaf).

The cheapest countries for groceries

table of a table cointaining cheapest countries for groceries

1. Turkey - £6.66/$8.95/€7.97

At the other end of the scale, the cheapest OECD country for groceries is Turkey, with an average weekly cost of just £6.66.

Prices in Turkey are extremely low, with the cost of an average grocery basket coming in at over five times cheaper than that in the most expensive country, Switzerland.

2. Colombia - £7.22/$9.71/€8.65

The second cheapest country overall is Colombia, with an average weekly shop cost of £7.22.

Among the cheapest items to buy in the country include cheese (£0.77 for 350g) and beef (£0.34 for 100g).

3. Poland - £9.19/$12.35/€11.00

Another very affordable European country when it comes to groceries is Poland, with an average weekly cost of just £9.19.

Milk is one of the most affordable items in a weekly shop here, with a litre costing just £0.49 on average.

The cost of groceries around the world

The least affordable countries compared to earnings

As well as discovering which countries are the costliest and cheapest for groceries overall, our experts also took a look at how this compares to the average earnings in each nation.

mexico cost of food

Estimated monthly basket cost: £46.76

Average monthly earnings: £1,006.35

Estimated basket cost as % of earnings: 4.65%

The least affordable country, once earnings are taken into account, is Mexico, where the average person spends £46.76 on food essentials. 

The average monthly income here is just over £1,000, meaning that groceries take up 4.65% of earnings, more than any other OECD country.

The most affordable countries compared to earnings

Holland cost of food

Estimated monthly basket cost: £72.00

Average monthly earnings: £3,647.64

Estimated basket cost as % of earnings: 1.97%

On the other hand, the Netherlands is the most affordable country when it comes to buying groceries. Despite having a relatively high monthly cost of £72 for food essentials, it’s also one of the countries with high average earnings, which means that a month’s worth of groceries  makes up just 1.97% of the average monthly income.

basket cost as % of esrnings

If you're looking to save some money on your groceries, check out how you can stop your food bills spiralling with our top 10 ways to cut the cost of your weekly shop.

Methodology and sources

About James Andrews 

James is our senior personal finance editor and has spent the past 15 years writing and editing personal finance news. He has previously written for ReachPLC, was money editor of Mirror Online and Yahoo Finance UK, and has recently been quoted in City AM, Liverpool Echo and Daily Record as well as featured on national radio shows TalkRadio and the BBC

View James Andrews’ full biography here or visit the money.co.uk press centre for our latest news.

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About James Andrews

View James Andrews's full biography here or visit the money.co.uk press centre for our latest news.