Money, Money, Money
Subtitle: Target Penny wise and Pound Wise
It has now been over 12 months since Marcus and Agata relocated back to England, UK. Recently more than one Swiss friend asked us to honestly appraise the most marked difference in living costs between the countries. Here is the short answer:
Since June 2017 we have also been lucky (or unlucky?) enough to be bouncing between countries so there was plenty of time to refresh our horror at Swiss Food prices
Swiss Food Cost Hierarchy
Switzerland has a very thin hierarchy of food shops.
At the bottom are Lidl and Aldi, 2 German shopping chains that represent very good value by Swiss standards.
How and why these retailers were ever 'let into' Switzerland I can hardly imagine, for no other retailers say from England or France have managed to enter. Conspiracy theory? For another day I shall say.
At the same level with a great preference for alcohol (hence you can imagine the clientele) is Denner. Denner is the
Above these bargain basement shops are Coop and Migro. These are like the "Middle of the Road" stalwart, reliable, big supermarket chains which sell food and even extras like Coffee machines and stationary.
Most Swiss (except the wealthy) would claim to mostly go shopping here. Many Swiss will tell you they never shop at Aldi et al like it was some sort of shameful admission, yet clearly many people do.
At the top tier we have more boutique shops like Globus and Manor. If you would be both a wealthy and pretentious Swiss you might claim to never shop anywhere else.
Above the top tier and embarrassing close (800 metres) from our old Swiss home is the L'Epicerie du pont du Chailly
Here is what is new for example. These boutique food shops are like the Harrods Food Hall of Switzerland. With an unlimited budget, even higher than Globus/Manor you can exit with an equisite, wallet busting food shop.
Let me now compare food with non food in Switzerland
On Monday July 30th, Marcus needed the use of a table for 10 days. I went to IKEA and bought one. Cost 30 CHF
The we went to the local Coop for the second time in 7 days . Cost about 100 CHF.
So to be clear
Whilst my table that I need for 10 days cost 30 CHF, a week's shopping for two at the midprice Supermarket is costing at least 200 CHF.
In England every week Marcus and Agata struggle to push the weekly food bill past 100 GBP. We still eat mostly unprocessed foods like Lentils, Vegetables, Fruit, but we also buy more expensive delights to us including Wine,Ice Cream and Chocolate. But we find our weekly spend is less than half of Switzerland. We find this totally frikkin incredible.
In a Nutshell
Our summary is that Food is so expensive in Switzerland that many people (well for us certainly) would restrict our diets away from all the food we might like, to the food that we can comfortably afford.
There are some benefits of this high pricing. And the following list is deadly serious (in case you thought it was ironic)
- Food cost is so high that other items like an iPhone X for example at about 1000 CHF might be regarded as cheap relatively speaking. I mean it is less than the cost of 5 weeks shopping and should easily last 2 years with resale value at the end of it. Bloody bargain!
- We certainly buy less processed food in Switzerland. Unprocessed food is again, relatively speaking cheaper
- Meat or meats are even more expensive. We don't eat meat at all so we can only boggle at the cost of people who make meat their majority diet. But generally, people eat less meat in Switzerland and are healthier for it
- Less eating means less overweight! Not being able to stuff your face with low priced, unhealthy processed food, means overall your diet is better. People in Switzerland are on average just a lot healthier than in England.
In an unscientific ad-hoc straw poll of Swiss friends we found a most extravagant friend who claimed to spend an average of 1000 CHF (770 GBP ) per week on food. This cost shows what you can do with a more or less unlimited budget and a delight to buy the best possible food in our local Globus and Manor food shops
In Switzerland I don't see too many overweight people. I attribute at least some of this to the relative scarcity of junk food and the frighteningly high cost of all food. As a guide I'd expect to double your weekly food bill and more so if you like to buy Meat or junk food.