It’s been quite some time since I’ve been virtual supermarket shopping, the last time I did it was probably my post The Cost of Living in Australia Update: Groceries. At that time I loaded up my trolley with a supermarket selection that included (but wasn’t limited to) breakfast cereal, coffee, bread, rice and some double chocolate chip cookies.
Today I’m going to turn my attention to more healthy food, namely fruit…
I’m going to virtually buy some fruits and vegetables from the UK’s leading supermarket…
Some might say I could get better value on fruit and veg by going to the independent fruit and vegetable stores, or maybe the local farmers markets.
The government says a healthy adult should target eating two fruits and five vegetables each day, but we are going to buy five fruits and five vegetables from each supermarket.
Let’s go shopping for fruit n veg.
Fruit and veg shopping
I tried to pick fruits and vegetables that were readily available in each country and also to avoid anything that might be either in or out of season in either country. I also tried to pick fruit and veg that was ‘like-for-like” and was able to do that for apples with Granny Smith.
I couldn’t do it with pears though, as Tesco sold Rocha and Woolworths William Bartlett. Potatoes were also a little tricky, Woolworths doesn’t seem to have King Edwards and Tesco didn’t have Dutch Cream Potatoes, so I just got the cheapest potatoes available from each supermarket.
Whenever I could buy the fruit or veg loose, I did so and bought a kilo. If the items were sold in singles, I bought more than one.
The items were picked randomly, more or less based on anything that was available in both countries.
So, how was my shopping trip?
UK and Australian prices compared
Well, it was a game of two halves as we would say if this was a football match.
The first half pretty much belonged to Australian fruit, with my selection costing £9.88 in the UK compared with $14.18 here in Australia. With one GBP being worth 1.85 AUD at today’s rates, the British fruit cost the equivalent of $18.28 making it about 29% more expensive than it cost here in Australia.
In the second half though, British vegetables came storming back. At £4.23, these vegetables cost the equivalent of $7.83 AUD. Here in Australia though, those same vegetables would have cost $21.47!
That is nudging uncomfortably close to 3 times as much.
The peppers, which we call capsicum here, were nearly 5 times the price of those in the UK. Apparently, according to Mrs Bob who is head of fruit and veg shopping in our household, prices jump all over the place here as well.
Cucumbers, for example, can be $2.90 one day and $1.00 the next. That’s nuts!
I had a quick look at some other vegetables as well while I was online, sweet corn are four for £1.50 in the UK, here they are $1.20 each. Onions are 59p a kilo in the UK, here they are $2.98. Even more reason to cry when cutting them up.
With all fruit and veg included though, the UK’s total of £14.11 is equal to $26.10, making the overall price here in Australia around 36% more expensive for fresh fruit and vegetables.
Of course, the Australian dollar is quite strong at the moment, so that hasn’t helped matters. If we adjust for Hard Yakka which takes into account the higher average earnings here, then it would take the average Australian a few seconds short of one hours worth of work to earn the money to buy the above fruit and veg.
In the UK, the average worker would take about an hour and 2 minutes, so that kind of levels it up a bit.
Here are some official figures to prove that even though some of our food might seem expensive to other people, it’s not actually that bad.
Percentage of annual consumer expenditure on food:
- US – 6.6%
- UK – 9.1%
- Canada – 9.6%
- Australia – 10.2%
- France 13.2%
- India – 25.2%
- Russia – 31.6%
Doesn’t seems so bad now, does it?
Want meat with your veg?