Comparing Costs of Groceries

Comparing the Cost of Groceries

A few weeks ago, a fellow Canadian living in the Netherlands and I got into a bit of a debate about the cost of groceries in the Netherlands. My feeling was that grocery shopping was significantly cheaper here than in Canada, where her experience was the opposite. So I decided to do a comparison of the cost of groceries between the Netherlands and Canada. It bears noting that what we are buying does differ quite a bit: she’s vegan where I am buying meat and dairy to feed a Dutch man.

Not surprisingly, there’s a website for comparing the cost of living in nearly any country: Numbeo. According to that website, at a national level, groceries prices in the Netherlands are 10.55% lower than in Canada. It seems as though there may be a lack of data for our small town since it’s all self-reported, but, it’s a starting point.

Comparing Costs of Groceries

Now for most people, finding data on the internet would be enough, but I decided I wanted to see whether the prices at my local, small town grocery store and one near my parent’s house in a similarly sized town matched the national data. The table below shows my findings with exchange rates calculated on January 7, 2016.

Item Canada Netherlands Difference
1L milk $2.99 €1,93 $1.35  €0,87  -€1,06
loaf of white bread $2.00 €1,29 $3.48  €2,25  €0,96
1kg white rice $2.50 €1,62 $2.79   €1,80  €0,18
12 eggs $2.79 €1,80 $3.88  €2,51  €0,71
1kg local cheese $33.30 €21,52 $20.43  €13,20  €-8,32
1kg chicken breast $17.61 €11,38 $12,38  €8,00 -€3,38
1kg beef round $18.72 €12,10 $23.22  €15,00 €2,90
1kg apples $3.95  €2,55 $3.10  €2,00 -€0,55
1kg bananas $1.74 €1,12 $2.93  €1,89  €0,77
1kg oranges $2.18  €1,41 $2.17  €1,40  -€0,01
1kg tomato $6.59  €4,26 $3.99  €2,58  -€1,68
1kg potato $2.84  €1,83 $2.79   €1,80  -€0,03
1kg onion $1.99  €1,29 $2.15   €1,39  €0.1
1 head lettuce $3.49  €2,25 $1.69  €1,09 -€1,16
1.5L water $1.70 €1,10 $1.24  €0,80  -0,30

My data seems to show that the prices of most grocery items are quite similar, except in the meat and dairy products, which are generally cheaper in the Netherlands. No wonder my friend didn’t see the price difference that RB and I did!