Grocery shopping in Germany: What we got with 45 euro?

Today, we are talking about, grocery shopping!

First of all, I have to give you a brief background introduction. I am now living in the city center of Cologne with my boyfriend. Our groceries are done at the local chain supermarket next to our home. The frequency is about once a week and usually is for two people for a week. 

When we went shopping last week, I took a photo of our shopping results.

今天,我们来聊一聊,超市购物!首先是大概的背景介绍,我平时和男朋友两个人住在科隆的市中心,平时的生活必需品就在家旁边的连锁超市购买,频率大概是一周去采购一次,一次的标准是一个星期两个人的量。上个星期我们去购物的时候,我特意拍了一下我们的购物成果。这张照片里都有什么呢?

500g的无花果干杏仁片早餐燕麦

1L装的牛奶

4盒500g的酸奶奶酪

1管牙膏

1盒蘑菇

1罐树莓果酱

1袋薯片

600g的巧克力碎片早餐燕麦

2kg的胡萝卜

4板100g的巧克力

8条装的Kinder巧克力

12个装的鸡蛋

1块250g的黄油

2个德式Bretze椒盐脆饼面包

1个德式老面面包

1盒某种绿色沙拉蔬菜

1板巧克力威化饼干

1罐巧克力夹心饼干

2包500g装的德国黑面包切片

1kg装的德国香肠

400g的ButterCheese奶酪切片

2盒500g装的番茄酱

1盒压缩装磨好的咖啡粉

400g的瘦猪肉

1kg的鸡胸肉

500g的番茄

200g的Salami萨拉米火腿切片

2包500g装的意大利面





500g of dried figs and almond flakes breakfast oatmeal

1L of milk

4 boxes of 500g quark

1 tube of toothpaste

1 box of mushrooms

1 jar of raspberry jam

1 bag of potato chips

600g of chocolate chip breakfast oats

2kg carrots

4 plates of 100g chocolate

8 sticks of Kinder chocolate

12 eggs

1 piece of 250g butter

2 pretzels 

1 German bread

1 box of vegetables

1 plate chocolate wafer 

1 box of chocolate cookies

2 packs of 500g ​​German dark bread

1kg sausage

400g sliced ​​ButterCheese 

2 boxes of 500g tomato paste

1 box of coffee powder

400g of lean pork

1kg of chicken breast

500g tomatoes

200g sliced ​​Salami 

2 packs of 500g pasta



以上所有的东西一共花了差不多45欧元,也就是350人民币左右。

以我个人的生活经验来说,这个价格是很划算的。

All the above things cost almost 45 Euros, which is about 350 RMB.

Speaking from my personal life experience, this price is quite good.

我最近的一次在国内购物应该是两三年前和父母去的沃尔玛,位于北京郊区。

当时记得买了一家三口接下来两三天的吃的,花了差不多四五百块人民币(如果妈妈读到这篇文章,欢迎在文末纠正我)。有时候家里奢侈一顿做个羊肉火锅,光买羊肉卷就要好几百块

My most recent shopping in China was at Wal-Mart, which I went to with my parents two or three years ago, in the suburbs of Beijing.

I remember buying food for a family of three for the next couple of days, which cost about four to five hundred yuan (about 65 euros). Sometimes we like to make a traditional lamb hotpot at home, it costs hundreds of Yuan just to buy the lamb rolls.

但是同时,国内的物价在大城市和小城市还是有一定区别的。

上海北京的物价会相对于其他城市要贵一些。另外,进口的食物也比较贵,同理还有进口的葡萄酒等。

But at the same time, prices are still quite different in big cities and small cities in China.

Prices in Shanghai and Beijing will be more expensive than in other cities. In addition, imported food is more expensive, also the same case for imported wines.

但是我个人的经验不代表一切,所以我在朋友圈发起了一个小调查

But my personal experience can not speak for all, so I did a small survey in my WeChat moment (combined person and fan account, which in total is a group of 15,000 people).

在回复的33个人当中,去除5个无效回复之后,其中6个人认为这个价格贵了,其中8个人觉得差不多/适中,其中14个人觉得很便宜

Among the 33 people who responded, after removing 5 invalid responses, 6 of them thought the price was expensive, 8 of them thought it was similar/moderate, and 14 of them thought it was cheap.

(表格数据来源:微信朋友圈)(Source of table data: WeChat Moments)

尽管大多数人认为德国的物价比较便宜,不过这其中有“进口”国内买不到(相同质量的产品)”的因素,所以可以看出,很多人在比较的时候并不仅仅基于价格考虑的。

另外,有在“韩国”“英国”“加拿大”等国家生活的人,会倾向于认为德国的物价更加便宜

Although most people think that prices in Germany are relatively cheap, there are factors such as “imported goods” and “not available here(for the products of the same quality)”, so many people do not only consider price when comparing. 

In addition, people living in developed countries such as “South Korea”, “UK”, and “Canada” tend to think that the prices in Germany are cheaper.

But, why are prices in Germany relatively low?

The first is the government’s subsidies for agricultural products, which makes food prices in supermarkets subject to a certain degree of control.

However, while the prices of supermarket commodities goes down, the impact on the surrounding environment and agricultural development cannot be overseen.

为什么德国的物价相对较低?首先是政府对农产品的补贴,使得超市里的食物价格受到一定的管控。

不过,在超市商品价格下降的同时,对周围环境以及农业发展的影响也不容小觑。

在我感叹德国农产品便宜的时候,我的德国朋友和我讲,正是因为政府的补贴,农民觉得反正种什么都赚钱,所以他们就大量种植那些种起来最容易的作物,导致了周围土壤和环境质量的下降。

When I lamented that German agricultural products are so cheap, my German friend told me that it was because of government subsidies that farmers felt that they could make money anyway, so they planted a large number of crops that were the easiest to grow, which caused the surrounding soil and environmental degradation.

我查阅了一些相关的资料,发现很有趣的一个称呼叫做“butter mountains” (黄油小丘)(Environmentally Harmful Subsidies In Germany, 2014),因为政府保证你无论种植什么都会有一个最基本的收入,所以大量毫无收益的草场就出现了。

After reading some papers, I found an interesting name called “butter mountains” – because the government guarantees that you will have a basic income no matter what you plant, a large number of unprofitable pastures appeared(Environmentally Harmful Subsidies In Germany, 2014).

It’s not just the Germans who complain about this. Articles in recent years also show that many African countries are not happy with it either.

A recent best-selling economics book called <The Almighty Dollar> mentioned that the huge EU subsidy system has caused thousands of African farmers to lose their livelihoods. This is called “Dumping on the Poor”.(“Dumping on the Poor: The Common Agricultural Policy, the WTO and International Development”, 2020)

Because European countries dump thousands of tons of subsidized exports in Africa every year, local African producers cannot compete fairly on their own land. As a result, it is difficult for the local area to develop its own agricultural economy and can only rely on European products.

不仅仅是德国人对此有些怨言,最近几年的研究还表明,非洲人也不是很开心!一本叫做<The Almighty Dollar> (万能的美元)的经济学畅销书中提到,庞大的欧盟补贴制度使成千上万的非洲农民丧失了生计,这被称为 “穷人倾销”(“Dumping on the Poor: The Common Agricultural Policy, the WTO and International Development”, 2020)。由于欧洲国家每年在非洲倾销数千吨的补贴出口,因此非洲本地生产商无法在自己的土地上公平竞争。从而当地很难发展自己的农产品经济,只能依赖欧洲的产品。

另外,德国各种折扣超市激烈的竞争,也是食品价格便宜的一大因素。

In addition, competition in various discount supermarkets in Germany also play a role in the cheap food prices.

Take the German supermarket chain ALDI as an example. There are basically one every few kilometers in most German cities. Its stores have also opened in the United States and Australia. You must be wondering, how can a foreign supermarket compete with those local giants like Walmart?

Surprisingly, most of the time, ALDI can actually be cheaper than these giants (especially on European products). This also why I liked visiting German supermarkets such as ALDI when I was traveling in the United States.

以德国连锁超市ALDI为例,在德国城市中基本几公里一个。它的连锁店还开到了美国和澳洲,你一定会想,国外的超市要怎么和当地的巨头 – 特别是沃尔玛这种 – 所竞争呢?

令人意外的是,大多数时候,ALDI居然能做到比这些巨头还要便宜(特别是欧洲商品)。这也就导致了我在美国旅行的时候,很喜欢光顾ALDI等德国超市。

不管是去哪个国家,我总是希望能去当地超市逛逛,看看当地人平时都吃什么用什么,也是一个对我来说非常地道的体验。

No matter which country I visit, I always like to go to the local supermarket and see what the locals usually eat and use. It is also a very authentic experience for me.

韩国: 有很方便且贴心的24小时便利店文化,但是也有相对比较昂贵的水果。图中800g的橘子,大概是人民币32块钱。

South Korea:  I like their 24-hour convenience store culture, but their fruits can also be quite pricy (comparing with the Chinese standard). The 800g orange in the picture is about RMB 32 (4 euro).

蒙古:紧缺的物资,落后的基础设备,大量依靠进口

Mongolia: It is obvious to see the shortage of supply in their stores, and they rely heavily on imports.

加拿大:昂贵的生活必需品,生活成本极高,特别是和收入相比。右图中800g鸡肉为11加币(55人民币),同样的鸡肉德国为4欧元(30人民币)。加拿大最常见1L装牛奶是2.32加币(12人民币),德国最常见的1L装牛奶是0.6欧元左右(4.5人民币)。

Canada: Expensive everyday food, high cost of living, especially when compared with their income. In the picture on the right, 800g of chicken costs 11 Canadian dollars (55 RMB, 7 euro), and the same chicken is 4 Euros (30 RMB) in Germany. The most common 1L package of milk in Canada is 2.32 Canadian dollars (12 RMB, 1.5 euro), and the most common 1L package of milk in Germany is about 0.6 Euro (4.5 RMB).

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