Fresh Fruit and Veg: Australian and UK Prices Compared

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…

fruit Machado

And vegetables…

vegetable HASSAN

I’m going to virtually buy some fruits and vegetables from the UK’s leading supermarket…

Northallerton Tesco Entrance & CostaAnd the current market leader here in Australia…

Woolworths Supermarket, AustraliaTesco and Woolworths

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.

Eagle Farm MarketsBy using Tesco and Woolworths though, I was able to get today’s prices easily online as well as ensure I am comparing like for like.

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

FruitnVegSources: Tesco and Woolworths


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%

Source: ibtimes

Doesn’t seems so bad now, does it?

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{ 21 comments… add one }
  • Pancham aadivasi December 1, 2023, 3:43 pm |

    Hello sir me Pancham aadivasi district Chhatarpur Madhya Pradesh India fruit packing

  • vic sharma April 28, 2019, 12:47 am |

    From my own experience of UK and Australia, the average price index in Australia is more by a factor 0f 1.5 to 2.00. This includes all household items like fruits, vegetables, grocery and clothing. Australia is far too expensive than UK- almost twice as much.

    • BobinOz April 29, 2019, 8:40 pm |

      That’s not what I’ve found from my cost comparisons. As well as this article, I’ve compared the cost of meat and also a fish, and Australia was cheaper for both. I’ve also compared prices for many other things in my category Cost of Living – Australia, and prices are much closer than you have experienced.

  • Helen December 21, 2016, 12:43 pm |

    I spent five months in the UK – late 2015 to early 2016 and the food prices there are so much cheaper than Australia (people still wonder around the supermarket with overflowing trolleys of food – I haven’t done that in years here). Their fruit and veg prices are staggeringly lower than here. I was in my element making fruit smoothies etc. When you buy a punnet of blueberries there, you get a large punnet for less than we pay for the tiddling little punnets we get here. Also, Tesco is an expensive supermarket in the UK, try Morrisons for your comparison. Also Liddles which is even cheaper than Aldi. We are being ripped here and treated like mugs.

    • BobinOz December 21, 2016, 8:57 pm |

      Any comparison has to be like for like, that’s why I chose the two leading supermarkets (by sales volume) in each country. There are certainly cheaper places to buy this sort of stuff in Australia, as there is in the UK.

      Based on the information I looked at, fruit was cheaper here, as it says above.

  • John Smith June 17, 2016, 8:31 pm |

    I wonder if there is more to be done in terms of like-for-like comparisons.

    I am surprised with bananas and avocados: – they ought to be quite a bit cheaper, given the ease of growing them in much of Australia. However, with the viticulture in Australia, grapes come as no surprise.

    However, mushrooms, potatoes, carrots and broccoli come as absolutely no surprise: – from my recollection, these are all cool temperate crops.

    To my mind, if one is flexible about what one eats and is willing to consume foods easily available locally, one can live relatively cheaply. If one insists on living as if one were in one’s ancestral homeland because of snide disdain for your new country and its produce, or an unwillingness to compromise or whatever, then serves you right, you deserve to be hit in the pocket.

    Luanda often comes high up in cost-of-living surveys, but that is because they are counting the prices of expat items needing to be imported, rather than considering lateral thinking ways to achieve a local equivalent lifestyle. Cars often help Singapore come out badly in comparisons too (very high import charges and the ERP): – with the great metro system, you deserve to be hit in the pocket if you are too lazy to get up off your backside and dispense with your 4×4. Why people feel the need to live the “expat” lifestyle is beyond me.

    I am aware of a Western expat living in Japan who for some reason insisted on paying through the nose for some parsnips at Christmas. If she felt the pleasure of the taste of parsnips was worth paying for, that is up to her, but I would probably gravitate towards local Christmas customs (if they exist). My Kiwi relatives have different Christmas food customs, as Christmas falls in early summer in Een Zeed as well.

    It’s a simple case of adapting to life in your new country: – if you are in the UK, cool temperate vegetables will be plentiful when they are in season, if you are in Australia, tropical and sub-tropical fruits will be relatively easily available. Seek out what is easily available locally, find things you like and build up habits. Simple.

    • BobinOz June 18, 2016, 10:15 pm |

      Yes, you would certainly get more value out of food if you choose the ‘in season’ produce local to the country you are living in than trying to find things that you used to eat back home.

      Turkey at Christmas is not big here in Australia, and if you want Brussels sprouts to go with it, you can expect to pay heavily for both. On the other hand, if you fancy barbecuing some fish as many Australians do on Christmas Day, you will be better off financially.

      One of the things that does affect prices here quite a lot though, bananas for example, would be when we have a flood or a cyclone rip through the crops.

    • Jon January 26, 2018, 4:06 am |

      Yes very difficult to grow bananas in UK or elsewhere in Europe. Maybe that’s why across the EU they are so cheap.
      They were for years 68p kg every day in every supermarket. But since our Brexit devaluation, everyone sells them for 76p.
      I see the most extraordinary variation in the price of bananas in Australia, but even at their cheapest they are way more than 76p/kg!
      Mangos and avacados are currently very cheap here…and pineapples are, year round.

      • BobinOz January 29, 2018, 7:02 pm |

        I think bananas are a special case, because if I’m not mistaken, Australia does not import bananas at all as they have concerns about potentially importing diseased bananas. So prices fluctuate depending on how good or bad Australia’s crop is, and when a cyclone destroyed much of Australia’s banana crop a few years back, prices skyrocketed.

        I have no idea where the UK or the EU get their bananas from, but clearly they are able to keep the price steady.

  • Kamma May 17, 2016, 2:26 am |

    In all fairness, you can more easily get the garden space to grow your own veggies in Australia.

    • BobinOz May 17, 2016, 6:10 pm |

      Yes, that’s a good idea, I do a similar thing with my beer. I brew my own 🙂

      • Jon January 26, 2018, 4:12 am |

        That’s smart.
        Maybe like me you remember before we joined the EEC and supermarket beer was expensive (well pub priced)
        We all bought home brew kits from Boots and made it in plastic dustbins.
        Well, no one has done that for years….it’s no longer worth it.

        • BobinOz January 29, 2018, 7:06 pm |

          Yes, I actually had a go at brewing beer in the UK myself, many years ago. It wasn’t a great success. Exploding bottles in my wardrobe didn’t go down well.

          By the time I left the UK though, 2007, as you say, nobody was really brewing beer anymore. Supermarket prices had dropped significantly. When I arrived in Australia, I discovered homebrew was big business here, I soon found out why when I went to Dan Murphy’s 🙂

          That’s why I started homebrewing again.

  • Mary April 21, 2016, 9:07 pm |

    Very interesting. So I suppose I would not eat too much brocoli in Australia !
    I wonder if Australia produces all his fruits and vegetables due to the quarantine ?
    A post about fish and meats would be very interesting too !

    • BobinOz April 22, 2016, 7:04 pm |

      I’m sure there will be a lot of children very happy about the Australian broccoli situation. I think there are many different reasons why our produce is so expensive, I think it is that most of it is homegrown. We don’t have cheap labour or cheap farming here.

      I suspect transport costs are an issue as well being such a big country. I’m sure we do import plenty of stuff, but again, there is the cost of transport.

      I’ll put fish and meats on my ‘to do’ list.

  • David Simon April 20, 2016, 9:18 pm |

    Hey Bob,

    Compared to your initial euphoria about Oz your subsequent posts are tending towards being more pessimistic about your situation.
    Come on mate, give us (who were quite encouraged by your experiences to also come here) a fresh encouraging post on Oz!

    • BobinOz April 21, 2016, 4:12 pm |

      Ha ha, I thought this was going to be an optimistic post until I got to those bloomin’ vegetables. I can assure you I am not turning into a grumpy old man, well, maybe a bit 🙂

      You will be pleased to hear that for my money, Australia is ill the best place to be and wild horses couldn’t drag me back to the UK. I’m still having fun, honest, for just one example see…

      Cheers, Bob

      • ebi August 14, 2017, 10:59 pm |

        thanks bob for all your interesting posts. really want to move to oz and am just gathering info as much I can. do u have any post on home electronics/appliances prices anywhere? thanks

        • BobinOz August 15, 2017, 7:30 pm |

          Thanks, glad you like. I’ve got prices for everything on my page The Cost of Living in Australia of Everything.

          Have a look for the link under the title of Electrical Goods to Harvey Norman. It will give you a good idea on prices of all electrical goods and other things like furniture as well.

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