What’s so expensive about Switzerland?


I get asked what makes Switzerland so expensive. I usually just answer with some information about properties values and rental cost. Today I thought I would share some grocery comparisons.

First lets talk bread. I may have mentioned how this is one of the best parts of Europe. It is what keeps me carrying around those extra pounds. It really deserves a lot of credit, trust me. Today we had sandwich rolls made from some of the stuff in the basket on the left. Delicious twisty bread we call it- sort of like a chewey, crusty, baguette. Also pitured are braided pretzel bread, and whole grain rolls with dried fruit (perfect for breakfast). The braided loaf is affectionatly known as “Sunday bread” because it’s beautiful sweet white chewey buttery bread that you should only eat on Sunday. All that bread was about 10.00 chf=$10.72. I think that’s pretty comperable to something I would pay for a good bakery quality in the states.

Then there’s great quality produce. I love it, I think it’s better tasting, fresher, riper, more local, so yes we are spoiled. But I think we pay a little more for it.

  • celery: 2.70chf=$2.89
  • tomatoes: 1.20chf =$1.29
  • sweet Potatoes: 3.65chf=$3.91
  • borccoli: 2.05=$2.20
  • mellon: 3.50 chf=$3.75
  • kiwi: 1.80 chf=$1.93
  • lemons: 2.70chf=$2.89
  • oranges: 3.70chf=$3.96
  • appels: 1.85 chf=$1.98
  • pears: 1.75 chf=$1.88
  • strawberries: 3.95chf=$4.23
  • bannanas: 4.50chf=$4.82

In most of Europe the milk is UHT, its somehow made to store at room temperature for long periods of time. Some brands taste better than others. I buy a whole pack (6  one liter cartons) for 7.80 chf= $8.36, its cheaper than fresh, the kids cant tell a difference, especially on cereal. It does not have to be stored in our tiny little fridge, so that’s a real win for us. A litter of fresh milk is 1.50chf=$1.61.

The swiss are proud of their eggs, they are probably better for me- I haven’t figured it all out yet. They are over 5chf for a dozen, I have been buying the cheaper imported ones for about 3.95chf=$4.23. They also keep these on the shelf in the supermarket, not in the cooler. They are all very fresh. Once they start to become less fresh they turn them into boiled eggs, dye them pretty colors and sell them for 2.95chf=$3.16. They eat a lot of eggs here, I suspect because the meat is terribly expensive.

SO ready for the kicker? I purchased the pork roast for 24.85chf=$26.63, it was on sale for half off! Normally it would be 41.05! The turkey breast I purchased at the discount grocery store called LIDL. Lidl is like an Aldi. It is reduce groceries but you don’t always know what they are going to have and what you can count on buying. There prices make it worth going at least once a week and making a second trip to the normal supermarket. I bought the turkey breast for 10.50chf=$11.25 , normally it is 14.99chf= $16.06. The turkey will make 2 meals and frankly we have just cut back on the amount of meat we eat, which is healthy anyway.

One of my favorite non alcoholic options for a party drink or special occasion is REMUS- a bottle cost 4.95chf= $5.30.

Well, what do you think?  Except for the meat I think most things are pretty comparable for the quality. But I know friends who became vegetarians for a year (almost) because they refused to pay such high prices. I really miss Press and Seal, brown sugar, shortcuts like rice mixes and french onion soup mix. Sometimes I can’t find cilantro (called Koriander here) at the market and forget about fresh salsa. Some things are just hard to give up!

* Prices are based on today’s exchange rate.