Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mrs. P Goes Grocery Shopping

I often grizzle when people post recipes because some of the ingredients aren't available in Australia. Never heard of Crisco before the internet exploded.   I have to rely on the generosity of people who take pity on my practically Oreo-less state since we have two kinds of them here , one of which I wouldn't touch with a barge pole.  Butterscotch chips - forget it. No such thing.

Shopping in other countries seems so exotic to me. You can get cheese in a pressure can, milk duds , and apple jacks.  You can buy Walkers crisps and Twiglets which are unheard of in Australia.

Mrs. Seams Inspired and I were emailing back and forth a couple of weeks ago when we got the brilliant idea to compare a weekly grocery shop. And then we got the even brilliant-er idea to share it with all of you. 

So today you're all invited to an international grocery shop. One post here about my shopping trip and another at Seams Inspired about shopping in her corner of the world. 

By the way,  I looked like some weirdo stalker walking round furtively taking pictures of my shopping trip. These are the lengths I will go to  in order to bring you hard hitting grocery information. Other random facts about Australian shopping include our 10% goods and services tax. With groceries this is built into the price of items. It doesn't apply to fresh foods or basics like eggs, sugar, flour, or coffee. It does apply to things like soft drink , personal care items, and cleaning goods.

Welcome to my local grocery store. This is where I drag myself when the Pyjamas household is in serious danger of starving. I worked out for this post that approximately $120,000 of my hard earned dollars has ended up in their coffers over the last 10 years.

First stop toilet paper. I paid $4.99 on special for a dozen rolls. That was a middle of the road brand.

Shampoo and Conditioner. I usually buy mine somewhere other than the supermarket . I think it's well documented in my blog that I am a shampoo snob.

Toothpaste - In the olden days before toothpaste was invented people used to rub their teeth with sticks. Toothpaste costs anywhere from a dollar on special for the generic  up to about 4.00 for a 170 gram tube of Colgate. You can get Colgate at the discount grocery stores here for about half that price but it has foreign writing on it. Is it the same toothpaste? Probably not but it's hard to make an informed opinion when you don't read Vietnamese.

Aussies love tomato sauce. That's about half the selection we have available.

This is the pitiful selection of Oreo's. The wafer sticks are dis-gus-ting. Thank you to everyone who has taken pity on me and sent me Oreo's. Now you know why this is necessary. By the way Tee Vee snacks are awesome and if you don't get them - you're really missing out. Ditto Tim Tams.   A box of Oreo's is about $3.11 I think. (I never look - I just buy them )

The meat section. I think I've mentioned we aren't that big on turkey here and to completely make me look like a liar they have a whole section of it . I'd just like to point out this shopping trip was less than two weeks after Christmas which is one of the few times turkey even gets a look in.

This is what Americans call ground meat . In Australia it's known as mince, and it costs anywhere from $7.00 a kilo to $13.00 a kilo for beef mince.($3.20 to $5.90 a pound) Pork, lamb and chicken mince start at around 10.00 a kilo.   

Cereal anyone? I am rather partial to the occasional bowl of coco pops. A 17 oz box of cereal here will cost between 5 and 8 dollars. Weetbix is a lot cheaper than the sugar laden variety. I bought a kilo box a couple of weeks ago for about $4.00.

In my part of  Australia this stuff is called bung fritz. Everyone else calls it Devon. I'm led to believe this is similar to baloney . It costs $10.99 a kilo. (for manufactured meat ) Only God knows what's in it.

Australia has awesome cheeses. This is the mass manufactured stuff.  The better the cheese the higher you pay. You're looking at around $10.99 for a kilo (2.2 pound) block of middle of the road type/popular brand cheese. A 16 oz block of Kraft Cheese ( Australian Velveeta) is about $6.50.

Fruits and Vegies. Loose apples were $5.99 a kilo. Our prices fluctuate from week to week. 5 kilos (11 pounds ) of spuds cost me $5.99 which is about average.

Sometimes you'll get strawberries for $1.99 for a 250 gram punnet .Other weeks you'll pay $3.99. Mangoes were $2.99 each this day.

My fruit and vegie bill included watermelon at $3.59 , truss tomatoes at 5.99 bananas at 2.89  and peaches at $5.99. All prices per kilo.

 That's an aussie trolley. Nothing exciting there.

That's my shopping bill being rung up. It ended up being $267.00. I'll probably spend another 50 bucks or so until my next big shop. I'm trying fortnightly shops at the moment since it's just the two of us.

See how green and ecologically aware I am? I bring my own reusable bags to the shops because if you don't,  they make you pay for biodegradable bags because regular plastic bags are illegal in this state.  If you don't bring your own bags people look at you like you're an environmental murderer. That's some serious peer pressure.

So here is some of my personal damage. Gyspy ham and silverside for sandwiches $13.99 and $7.99 a kilo respectively.

There is enough meat here for 9-10 meals (27 loin chops, 6  chicken boobies, a kilo of mince and a chicken rolled roast ) and it cost me $55.00. The lamb chops were about 7.99 a kilo and the chicken breasts were 10.99 a kilo. I noticed lamb roasts were on special today for about $9.59 a kilo. You can buy a 2 kilo fresh chicken here for around $11.00-$12.00, or $9.99 on special.

Milk - the biggest container you can get here is 3 litres which is 780 mls short of a US gallon. As far as I'm concerned milk is milk. It's not like some farmer is out there milking a snake to sell you the cheap stuff. It's all from cows.  Butter 2.99 for 500 grams, milk 3.74 for three litres, philly cream cheese  3.77 for 250 grams. The yoghurt was $5.02 for a kilo tub.

Eggs vary hugely in price here . Free range. cage eggs, grain fed, different sizes. You can pay anywhere from about $1.99 to almost $5.00 a dozen. These were on special for $1.99. I usually won't pay more than about $3.50 a dozen.

Washing powder- 500grams 1.84 (huge special )
Panadol 24 capsules $3.48
Spray and Wipe- $2.99

The cheapest bread is about $2.29 for 680 grams ( a normal sized loaf ) up to $4.50 for a high end loaf that has actual seeds and taste.  I pretty much go the cheaper version for toast and the good stuff if I'm making sandwiches. Bakery breads are a better option most of the time in my opinion.

I cant believe I didn't take tea and coffee pictures! 100 tea bags will cost around $4.00. 200 grams of decent instant coffee (Moccona or Nescafe Gold ) is around $14.00. I got Nescafe for just under 10.00 on special with this trip.

I have shopping down to a fine art. Shopping with me is a bit like ram raiding without smashed glass and all the illegal behaviour. I know what I want. I know where everything is. I get in, get what I want  and I'm outta there. I can do my fortnightly grocery shop and be home unloading the car in about 45 minutes flat.

However when I take Miss P this little junket extends to a two hour shop-fest.  Because she still has to touch and play with everything....

Don't forget to pay Larri a visit to see what she got up to with her groceries. I bet she didn't have to wrangle an unruly 20 year old.  


melissa said...

Thanks Shay that was really interesting - i would have thought our prices would be more expensive up here but they seem to be pretty similar although those little lamb chops at $7.99 seem like a bargain! Im going to checkout (haha) Larri's shop!

Kirsten's Cooking said...

love this, Shay!!

I wish I could have seen you taking pictures :)

Your prices are definitely higher, especially with the meat - but our prices aren't really too far behind.

I think your daughter looks too cute! :)

I unfortunately took Rob with me shopping this week and his motto is, "when you need one, buy three" - I didn't even look at the total!

thanks ever so much for taking all of us with you -

you're the best :)

AnnieO said...

My 20 year old isn't usually unruly but it does ALWAYS cost me more when she tags along! One thing I wish I had done while in Australia was take photos in the grocery store. It was fascinating! Thanks for the tour and price listing. My mind is boggling because it is too much math...

Kris said...

Ok. Just correcting a myth you are perpetuating here Shay. That stuff that Americans buy in a can is definitely NOT cheese. (No matter what it says on the can.) This I have on good authority from Bill Bryson. In fact, most things labelled cheese in the US have no milk in them. So, not cheese either. (This from my daughter who lived there for 12 months.) She found it hard to get anything that was not full of sugar there (including the bread). I have a friend who is diabetic and she claims that Nutrigrain is not a breakfast cereal, but a dessert because it has more sugar than chocolate cake. (Hard to argue with such facts) My daughter found the cereal aisle in the US the strangest. There really is cereal with marshmallows and choc chips. Obviously dessert. And every cereal is "frosted". Of course, we are not far behind!

Helsie said...

What a great idea for a post, Shay.
When we go overseas ( sounds like we do it all the time - we don't but wish we could !!)the thing we love most is trying to live like the locals and this involves shopping at the supermarket. In the UK they have a lot more supermarket chains to choose from and the whole experience is fun. I have to say , from my experience, food is much cheaper over there.
I'm off to check out Larri's shopping now .

Paulette said...

Very interesting. I had to look twice at the bung fritz. It looks like...something else. Even the name sounds a euphemism for something else. No offense to any bung fritz lovers.

You shop in a very clean and organized looking store, and everything looks very appetizing. My weekly shopping involves trips to 3 different groceries, the really cheapest store for essentials, the big box cheaper store for things I can't find at the cheapest store, and the regular store (mostly for meat that is not questionable). Thankfully they're all within proximity to each other or I'd drive myself nuts about whether it's worth the gas to drive to all 3.

Brenda said...

Not sure what chicken boobies are, but a fascinating trip nonetheless. (In our stores here in the US, no cameras allowed - what don't they want us documenting?)

Sara said...

My sister works in the meat unit at Woolies and they really do call chicken breasts "boobies".

I work at Woolies too.

Bung Fritz is awesome (living so close to the border, we have victorians come over and get 10-20 kilos of the stuff to take home)

Again, being so close to the border, it seems sometimes like every second customer is from interstate, and we have to explain that no, we dont have free bags, no it wasn't our idea, yes, it is a bit stupid, and look, do you want to pay the 15c or not?

Do you drink Milo? I think we need to spread the word about it to our international friends, because I feel that they're missing out on it's sheer, unrelenting awesomeness.

Ann Marie @ 16 Muddy Feet said...

Chicken boobies...........gave me a great laugh! What kind of meat is silverside? Just curious so when I come to the land down under, I know what I am eating. Looking at the cereal isle, I see they call our Rice Krispies, Rice Bubbles there. Looks like the same packaging.

Shruti said...

LOL... Shay, you made me realize one more time that things are much more cheaper here in India!!! my MONTHLY groceries come down to about 2500INR thats like 55 USD plus another 1000 bucks (thats about 22 USD more) for veggies & fruits that I buy fresh twice a week... Thats in all 77 USD!!! FOR A MONTH!!! Not to mention all the $1.5 / yd fabric that I manage to find at the Local Shops here!!!

BTW I have nominated you for an award... Check my blog for details...

Kate said...

Wonderful post. Not sure I can add anything to what has already been noted in the other comments. I don't do most of our grocery shopping, my guy does most of it (on the condition I make out the list). However, he is out of town this week so I had to go, with the 12 year old kiddo. I need to remember to feed her before I take her grocery shopping!

Thank you for the tour. I had to laugh at the "chicken boobies".

Anonymous said...

That bung fritz thing....that's scary looking. If I saw something like that at one of my local grocery stores, I'd have assumed somewhere was a giant moth laying giant eggs. Imagine the damage they would cause to the flour aisle when they hatch. Ack!

Seriously, that was interesting. I like your TP brand: Quiltoh. Somewhere, in an office in some highrise, some guy thought of that, and probably got paid quite a bit for it.

Interesting that Kellogg's Rice Krispies (here) are called Kellogg's Rice Bubbles there. Do they snap, crackle and pop?

Larri said...

Love it, Shay! What fabulous photos you took. Thanks for playing "Let's Go Shopping" with me. Lots of fun! :o)

PS...I still don't think I'd eat that bung fritz. Ummm, stay away from mystery meat! LOL

Happy Tuesday! :o)

thea said...

thanks for sharing your grocery shopping. I enjoyed both post. Although I can't figure out the conversions (where you didn't do them for me), I think the prices here in Northern California are about the same.

I avoid shopping of all sorts, grocery and otherwise.

Oh, and when any of my children go shopping with me it costs me more and takes longer ..

Susan Entwistle said...

Interesting and educational. Loved all your photos, though I bet the store thought you were a Mystery Shopper sent to evaluate them...were they nicer than usual this trip? :)

Dee said...

Interesting post Shay.

I think I may come visit you to buy some chops ( its only 6+ hours . I don't know when the last time was that I saw loin chops for that price... years. They are usually double that ( or triple on the odd occasion).
We are sometimes able to get bung fritz ( for about the same price) even if we are on the 'other' side of the border

seabreezequilts said...

I am afraid I am an egg and a milk snob. Only organic eggs $7.50 a doz and A2 milk as the kids complain of tummy upsets on the other stuff and husband is mildly lactose intolerant (though he hasn't officially been diagnose but I have noticed the difference).

My uncle was a butcher and he told me that if you knew what they put in bung fritz you would never eat it, I pretty much live by that, my husband loves it but only Conroy's its hard to get though since the food poisoning scare a couple of years ago (still he doesn't learn).

Kirsten said...

Hey, stop complaining...all I get is a mini size Oreo box (4 Oreos in a pck) for €1,..it´s unbelievable. On the other hand I was shocked at the prices. Things seem a lot more expensive in Australia than ove here, which really surprised me. Wish I´d known about that, I would have joined you guys.

Baa-Me Kniits said...

No wonder you get so much done...out and back in 45mins!!!! It takes me 1/2 hr just to get to the supermarket LOL!

Anne said...

I have been shopping with my 19 y.o. daughter and her 22 y.o boyfriend and not only does it cost me more but they love to walk behind me saying "mum,mum,mum, mummy, mummy, mum!!!" Drives me nuts. Plus have you bought Quilton toilet paper? Have you read what it says inside the toilet roll? Hahaha! It says Quilton loves your bum!!!

Marg said...

I wish I could get in and out and home from the supermarket in 45 mins on a weekly shop.
I'm an egg snob too, only organic eggs for us but at $7 for 10, not a dozen, they are very expensive, but at least they taste like eggs,not like chlorine like the last time we had free range non-organic eggs.
It was a great exercise comparing with Larri, I'll need to sit down and do the math to see how they compare once the weight is converted.
Thanks for doing that and it was good to see the stock is pretty much the same down there as it is up here. Except for that thing that you call bung fritz, I would be very worried if I saw that in my supermarket, it looks very very dodgy!

Michelle said...

Your grocery store looks remarkably similar to those here. I think I'd feel right at home.

Kirsten's Cooking said...

okay, I just re-read my post on a weekly grocery trip....

your stuff is way more expensive


Barb H said...

Thanks to both of you for sharing your shopping adventures. Ms. P, there IS something exciting about the Aussie shopping trolley/cart--in the US, only the front wheels turn in all directions compared to the Aussie carts which have 4 turning wheels. I often have a wrestling match with my cart and come out of the store exhausted from the struggle! As for prices, my Aussie ex-SIL was amazed when he arrived here at how cheap our food is. That may explain why we Americans are so obese!

vawriter said...

Don't faint, Shay--yes, it's Lurky Linda!

I was pulled from anonymity by this post when I checked in to see if you are one of those poor flooded places we hear about on the news. So glad to see you are high and dry!

Chicken boobies and bung fritz just cracked me up!

Went to a grocery/electronics/tires/optical/snack bar yesterday--Sam's Club, a huge megastore with only enormous portions of groceries available at "great savings"! Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I call it the Hundred Dollar Store. I go in for a book (40% off for a best-seller) and a big bag of bagel chips and spend a hundred bucks on other stuff I don't need in order to "save money". Sometimes it goes bad before I can use it up in my 2 person household, especially if it's chopped salad--an enormous bag for $2.50, and I am the only one who eats it. Still, throwing away half a bag is cheaper than buying the regular grocery's tiny bags at $2.99 (and I'd need 2). But oh, the guilt! No wonder Americans have a bad rep with the world.

I did buy a 3 lb. hot roasted chicken for $4.99--one of their specialties. I can get 3 meals off that sucker, so maybe that justifies the salad. And buying the other stuff I didn't really need.
Miss you!

Photography said...

Great post LOVE all your pics - did you get any looks? taking photo's at the shops??

Leanne said...

Good to see you are a Foodland Girl. Did no one think you were a little strange taking photos of your shopping trolley. Mmmmmm fritz.

Elizabeth said...

I think groceries are decidedly more expensive down under. I'm going to have to rethink my move there.

This was a really fun post. I loved seeing what you shop for.

xo -El

Vesuviusmama said...

Do you seriously eat something called "bung fritz"!?! And do you guys earn more money than we do, because your groceries sound super expensive to me. But what fun to go shopping with you at FOODLAND (I sure hope no one got a bonus thinking up that name). Of course, we have a FOOD LION. Why lion? It makes absolutely no sense! Is it the king of grocery stores? I don't think so, but it has the widest aisles and the fewest people and the carts with the pretend cars for the boys to drive, so that's where I prefer to go.