The Prices of Fresh Fruit, Meat and Vegetables Compared

We didn’t have a post on Monday because it was a public holiday here in Australia.

And there were no posts last Wednesday or Friday because I was on holiday in Japan. Tokyo to be precise. It’s a little different to Australia…

Tokyo

Tokyo

Tokyo

Tokyo

TokyoWe did get out of Tokyo for one day as well, taking a coach trip to Mount Fuji. It’s up there in the clouds somewhere…

mount-fujiWe should have had a great view of it on the Hakone cable car, but didn’t. It was a rather misty day…

Hakone cable carAccording to one of their posters, this is what we might have seen on a clear sunny day…

Hakone cable carWe got the bullet train back…

bullet-trainV fast.

magazineTokyo was amazing and the Japanese people were incredibly friendly and helpful. Despite the images I’ve shown you, we were actually very lucky with the weather. We enjoyed five sunny and rain free days during the week including the two we spent at Disneyland.

So we were very happy with that even if we didn’t see the tip of Mount Fuji.

But this isn’t Bobinihon, it’s Bobinoz, so let’s get back to Australia. Here is a reprint of one of my Australia and New Zealand magazine articles, this one appeared in their August edition.

Meat and two veg

Mag

In the olden days, the big meal of the day in England would more likely than not be meat and two veg. Since then, many countries, including the UK and Australia, have become multi-cultural and we now eat a more varied cuisine.

It wasn’t that long ago that Chinese stir-fry replaced chicken tikka masala as the UK’s most popular dish. Here in Australia, the Aussie meat pie has always been high on the list. Yes, I know, not very multicultural, but we did get the idea from Britain.

It matters not how food trends go though, one thing will always be certain. A good diet should contain as much fresh fruit and veg, meat and fish as possible. Recently I took a look at the prices of these fresh food items in both the UK and Australia to compare them.

The results were a little surprising, even for me.

I’m not a regular supermarket shopper; if I go I like to take my young daughter with me to help me find those difficult items, like milk and bread.

For my shopping experiment I used the leading supermarkets from each of our countries, namely Woolworths and Tesco, and did my virtual shopping online. Both websites had a search box; I liked that. In my first comparison, I bought five items of fresh fruit and five fresh vegetables.

This was a scientifically controlled experiment; that means I closed my office door when doing my research. According to me, as I was halfway through and had finished buying the fresh fruit, the UK fruit was 29% more expensive than Australia’s.

The vegetables though, that was a different story altogether. Overall, my five items were uncomfortably close to 3 times more expensive here in Australia. Broccoli, for example, was more than 3 times what it costs in the UK. Imagine the disappointment when you break the news to your kids that there will be no broccoli on their plate because of the cost.

It’s heartbreaking.

Fresh meat was a different story though. I ‘virtually’ purchased 10 kilos of meat from each country, from steaks to shanks and fillets to mince, not forgetting, of course, the sausages. My various portions of lamb, beef, pork and chicken cost $163 here, compared with £100 in the UK. Meat then, at the exchange rate at that time, was about 18% more expensive in the UK than here in Australia.

What you lose on the veg you claw back on the meat.

Finally, fresh fish. Another 20 kg later, my haul of fish in the UK had cost me around £146. This fish didn’t always appear to be truly ‘fresh’ though, much of it having been caught elsewhere, frozen and then thawed before being put on the shelves in the UK.

There was no suggestion of any freezing or thawing of Australian fish though, so our fresh fish just might be fresher. Of course, our fish weren’t the same. For example, we have shark in our seas, you have haddock.

Our fish cost $269, so not much in it, although the Australian fish still managed to be a tad cheaper. Fresh food shopping has never been this exciting; it’s been a great contest, but I think it’s one that Australia has just about edged.

Brexit

That’s the end of the article as it appeared in the magazine. Since I wrote it though, the UK has voted for Brexit and the pound against the Australian dollar has plummeted even further. I think it was around one GBP = $1.85 AUD, today is about $1.67 AUD.

That doesn’t make fresh food any cheaper in the UK for those of you who live there and it certainly doesn’t make them more expensive for us living in Australia.

It does make the above figures slightly wrong now though.

For full details of my cost comparisons, visit:

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{ 15 comments… add one }
  • Ozimandias October 1, 2017, 12:27 pm | Link

    Here are some (Woolworths) recent prices, in Perth:

    Broccoli – $2.50 per kilo (had to mention this!)
    Strawberries $1.50 for 250g
    Bananas $3.00 per kilo
    Lettuce (coral, iceberg, oak leaf) $2.00 each
    Tomatoes $4.00 per kilo
    Cucumber $2.00 each
    Avocado $2.50-$3.00 each
    Cashews, roasted and salted – $8.00 per 400g
    Crumpet, pack of 6 – $2.00
    Milk, 2 litres, $2.00
    Bread, basic sliced loaf, $2.00
    Pasta, basic brand, 500g – $1.00-$2.00.
    Pasta, egg, higher quality – $4.00
    Chicken thighs (boneless) $8.00 per kilo
    Chicken drumsticks, with bone $3.00 per kilo
    Cheese kransky – $8.00 per kilo (half-price discount, which happens regularly)
    Frozen supreme pizza (small) – $3.00
    Seafood “marinara” mix (mix of squid rings, salmon, white flesh fish, mussels) – $11.00 per kilo
    Atlantic salmon – $26.00 per kilo (you can buy this heavily discounted sometimes as it must be sold before it spoils)
    Lamb roast – $13.00 per kilo (I think?)
    Maasdam Cheese Wedge – $19.00 per kilo (sometimes this item is discounted to half price). Note this is a relatively expensive cheese.
    Typical mass produced cheese is about $5.00 for 500g I think.

    “Jatz” crackers for cheese – $2.00 per 225g box

    In Queensland, I often found fish discounted to half-price. This is significant, because Australian fish usually is expensive – about $20-26 per kg.
    Imported frozen “basa” fish from fish farms in Vietnam costs $8.00 per kilo.
    Cola or lemonade – $1.00-$2.00 per 750mL bottle

    In the UK, the only thing I saw cheaper was blueberries. These are very expensive in Australia – at the cheapest I saw $3.90 per 125g. Usually it costs about $6.00.

    For alcohol – look at BWS/Cellarbrations or Dan Murphys websites, these are large retailers. I prefer Dan’s as it has by far the bigger range, but it is only available in larger places.
    Case of mass produced generic lager beer – $45-$50 per case of 375mL x 24 cans or stubbies, average price, ABV 3.5-5%
    Cheapest beer is (I think) Hollandia, imported, 330mL x 24, 1.2 standard units of alcohol per bottle, $31.00
    Typical small brewery, e.g. “Little Creatures”, 330mL x 24, 1.5 standard units per bottle, $65.00-80.00 (yes, you read correctly!)
    Scotch, average – $40.00 per 750mL. Johnny Walker Black – $50.00 (when on special). Good scotch typically $80.00-$100.00 per 750mL
    Wine – lowest, “cleanskin” – $4.00 per bottle. Typical minimum good drinking quality – $10.00-$15.00. Better wine – more than $30.00 to upwards of $100.00 for premium
    Cigarettes – I checked this the other day and was amazed at how expensive they are. A whopping $35 for a pack of 20! (For comparison, I checked the cost in Indonesia on holiday there, cost was $3.00 for a packet)

    • BobinOz October 3, 2017, 6:42 pm | Link

      Thanks for these prices, interesting.

      What surprises us here in Brisbane is just how much prices can jump around from one week to the next, so it is not even seasonally related. For example, and these are all Coles prices, cucumbers can be as low as 79 cents each or as high as $4. Pears vary from $1.90 per kilo to up to $5. And recently bananas were less than a dollar a kilo here. Today though, they are back up to $3.

      I have no idea why.

      Like yourself, I favour Dan Murphy’s, they do have a bigger range and their prices are pretty keen. Check out their Gossips range of wines, all priced under $4. They are actually quite reasonable for a cheap wine. As for cigarettes, I really don’t understand how anybody can afford to smoke these days, but maybe that’s not a bad thing.

  • Joshua February 22, 2017, 7:50 pm | Link

    Just wondering also is there as many poor or lower class areas in oz as there is in England?
    Plus do you think Australias low to middle class are more better off then their counter parts in England? As in quality of suburbs, homes, socio economic areas etc just your thoughts or what you notice.
    Also is day to day living standards more in front of England? And day to day technology?

    • Mark February 23, 2017, 6:11 am | Link

      Joshua and Chad below though I suspect your one in the same I dont mind helping out answering questions but can you give me a clue to what aim, I suspect there is more Are you writing a book, just curious or applying for a Visa…Or even getting me to do your homework 🙂 Most of the things you ask about can be found if you look through these pages There isn’t really any class in Australia though there is poorer areas. GP hospitals most of the GP’s are English emigrates I find. Read through the other pages you will find heaps and heaps of info on pretty what everything you ask about …even Supermarket technology,its not different its just as stupid but they still pack your bags for you like USA and dont charge you 5p for the privilege of each bag…Tech is the same just cheaper,,, Happy to help but tell us why

    • Joshua February 23, 2017, 10:30 am | Link

      I’m Josh and Chads my pal we are just really curious about The Uk. For me going to England’s always been a dream I’ve just never been able to get there YET. Find differences really interesting. Plus find it hard to quiz anyone who has been to both places and knows the differences 👍🏻

      • Mark February 24, 2017, 3:35 am | Link

        OK go for a visit I’m assuming your in AU However with the troubles flaring in Sweden and likely other countries will follow I am seriously glad I am not there at present If you read lots of this site you will understand why but I am reminded of a quote by a lady who emigrated form Australia I think in about 1980 She said she moved to the UK because Australia was too isolated and cut off from the rest of the world. She has now moved back because Australia is Isolated an cut of from the rest of the world

  • Chad February 22, 2017, 7:30 pm | Link

    How does supermarket technology and product variety compare between Australia and the U.K.?
    Are Australias regional towns nicer then those in regional england and have the same amount of services? What’s the differences?
    Lastly how do Australias gp facilities and hospital facilities compare to those in England?

  • Joshua February 20, 2017, 11:03 pm | Link

    Hey Bob how does produce in Australia for example fruit, vegetables and dairy compare to the Uk? Who is better?
    What country do you find cleaner ?
    And who has the higher quality of living?

    • Joshua February 20, 2017, 11:05 pm | Link

      Hey Bob also which of the two has the better quality roads?
      And better quality homes?

      • Mark February 21, 2017, 5:01 pm | Link

        Ill pitch in for now as Bob is in the middle of moving house Hope he is back this evening but UK has something very similar to Australia which may or may not be causing him some pain… To what do I refer? Well some say it gets its staff trained by Mr Bean. Some say Its software is from Kellogg’s cereal packets.. Some say its complaints department has a roulette wheel for decisions. All we know is its called Telstra yes its BTs equivalent ..
        Anyway seeing as that leads me to roads…they are better they have less potholes, they are fixed quicker..They dont have cats eyes though and there are some roads that are dust trails not tarmac…(not your main roads) So bit of a mixed bag answer… Australia is cleaner ..there is less litter but like any cities it has graffiti some say that’s art Banksy for one, personally I dont get it. Australia is far younger so some areas are just newer…
        Dairy fruit Veg Australia probably wins as its usually bigger better in many ways though some things like yellow peppers capsicum are more expensive as is cheese and UK has access to a lot of the French cheese’s but with Aldi and Costco here and Lidl on their way things are hotting up, so again again mixed answer.
        Better homes Well there not so much of the UK terraces so that’s a plus The sort of exist but not as many. Many homes have pools that’s a plus, more space, usually again a plus ..Double glazing AU is still working that one out…Big garages on homes, again a plus. So with all that considered and the pools AU wins on better standard of living more family time. More family orientated and more outdoors life… This is a concise answer it would run to pages otherwise and I suspect a lot can be found on here if you look Especially the story of Telstra

        • Joshua February 22, 2017, 5:18 pm | Link

          Thanks mark really appreciate the time you put in to answer my questions 🙂

  • pete October 6, 2016, 10:07 pm | Link

    Hi Bob,
    Glad you enjoyed Japan, nice place for a holiday.
    I think due to up and down exchange rates you should use the
    good old hard Yakka

    • BobinOz October 7, 2016, 7:20 pm | Link

      Yes, I should have really. When the hard yakka rules are applied, Australia’s prices look far more attractive.

  • Alexander October 6, 2016, 3:52 pm | Link

    In Kazakhstan, which has traditionally viewed itself as a meat nation – it has always produced and consumed a lot of flesh, meat costs KZT 1,200+, depending on whether it is a huge piece with bones and other natural but still undesirable integral components, sold at open-air bazaars, or sliced meat with just meat in it or chopped meat with or with no fat mixed available from department stores. Unfortunately, AU dollars are not traded in Kazakhstan and therefore I recalculate using US dollars. The exchange rate is some KZT335 per 1 greenback = 1,200 / 335 = min $3.6 per kg of meat. We almost never buy fish, neither fresh nor canned, to avoid meeting in person parasitic worms. It is normal to find 2-3 long things in a fish’ liver. A historical narration from a fish seller is demonstrative – she did not get rid of a fish in which she found a 2m long worm and she did spend some time pulling it carefully out for the fish to be cooked. Ugly.

    • BobinOz October 6, 2016, 9:23 pm | Link

      Well, your meat sounds about the same price as our chicken, and your fish sounds rather scary. I’m not surprised you almost never buy it.

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