grocery prices canada

Trip to Iceland leaves traveller shocked at food prices compared to Canada

It's no secret a lot of us have been struggling with the high cost of food lately, but one Canadian was left in shock after a recent trip to Iceland.

Despite Iceland being a rather expensive country — especially since it's an island and food is brought in by air or sea — it seems some food prices there are either comparable (or even cheaper) than here in Canada.

"Just spent 10 days in Iceland. Two years ago when I came here I thought it was the most expensive country I've ever visited. Now I've come again and I see that our Canadian groceries are the same or more than many of the things I bought at the grocery store in Iceland," they wrote on Reddit.

Canada groceries more expensive than Iceland
byu/yourewrong321 inloblawsisoutofcontrol

They also provided some examples of produce they found to be cheaper or similar in price.

"Keep in mind that this is an island in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, and everything has to be flown in or shipped by sea freight. Why the hell are we paying equal or higher in Canada?" they asked.

In the comments, others who had visited Iceland shared their insights.

"I was there a couple weeks ago and felt like the groceries/restaurant prices greatly exceeded Toronto prices," said one commenter.

The original poster replied, agreeing that restaurants in Iceland are much more expensive than those in Canada, but said that "groceries have been about the same [price]."

Another person who visited Iceland last year said they also noticed that the food there was "about the same price as in Canada."

One commenter said the claims of how expensive Canada's food prices are in comparison to Iceland were being exaggerated.

"You could get away with saying 'Canada is as expensive as buying food in Hawaii' because it's relatively close, but it's not anywhere in the vicinity of what food costs in Iceland," they stated.

Comment
byu/yourewrong321 from discussion
inloblawsisoutofcontrol

According to the Icelandic Review, prices in Iceland are indeed very high compared to other countries for several reasons, including "high reliance on imports, geographical isolation and high import taxes and tolls."

Canada vs. Iceland

We conducted a price breakdown of some produce items from the Redditor's post (onions, celery and avocado) and a few basic grocery items to do a quick cost comparison of Iceland's and Canada's food prices.

For our price test, we searched items on Netto, an Icelandic grocery chain, and Walmart Canada's website.

According to the current exchange rate, one Canadian dollar is equivalent to 102.31 Icelandic Krona (ISK).

Onions

The Redditor said that in Iceland, onions were going for $2.38/kg CAD.

Iceland's price: Netto's website says onions are 48 ISK ($0.47 CAD) or 240 Krona per kg. This works out to $2.35/kg CAD.
Canada's price: Onions sold at Walmart are priced at $1.88 or $4.34/kg.
The winner: The Icelandic onions.

Celery

The Redditor said that in Iceland, celery was $3.98/kg CAD.

Iceland's price: Netto has celery priced at 297 ISK for a bunch ($2.90 CAD) or 479 ISK/kg ($4.68 CAD).
Canada's price: Walmart's website has celery priced at $2.97 for one bunch.
Winner: Iceland's celery is slightly cheaper.

Avocados

The Redditor said that in Iceland, avocados were being sold at $4.79 CAD for two.

Iceland's price: Netto's website lists one avocado for 183 ISK ($1.79 CAD).
Canada's price: Walmart's website has one avocado priced at $1.87.
Winner: Iceland's avocados.

Bread

Iceland's price: A loaf of whole wheat bread on Netto's website is 399 ISK/kg or $3.90/kg CAD.
Canada's price: Great Value brand bread is $1.97 for 570 grams, which works out to $3.46/kg.
Winner: The Walmart bread is cheaper.

Eggs

Iceland's price: A dozen eggs on Netto’s website are 767 ISK ($7.50 CAD).
Canada's price: A dozen eggs on Walmart's website are $3.98.
Winner: Walmart eggs are cheaper.

Chicken breast

Iceland's price: A package of two chicken breasts at Netto is 1,447 ISK ($14.14 CAD) or $30.29/kg CAD.
Canada's price: Walmart sells three Maple Leaf Prime chicken breasts for $15 or $2.08/100g.
Winner: If Walmart were selling at the same weight (370 grams) as the Icelandic chicken, it would work out to $7.70 for a package of two breasts, making it significantly cheaper than Netto's product.

Milk

Iceland's price: A one-litre carton of milk at Netto is 255 ISK or $2.49 CAD.
Canada's price: A one-litre carton of milk at Walmart is $2.79 CAD.
Winner: The Icelandic milk.

Chips

Iceland's price: A 165-gram bag of plain salted Lay's chips at Netto costs 300 ISK ($2.93 CAD).
Canada's price: A bag of plain salted Lay's chips at Walmart is $3.97 for a larger 235-gram bag.
Winner: When we crunched the numbers and converted the Walmart pricing to kilograms, that same Netto bag would sell for $2.79 in Canada, making it slightly cheaper than Iceland's price.

These are just a few items to provide a glimpse at prices in both countries.

Comments on the post also acknowledged that some factors must be taken into consideration when comparing prices, such as the size of the countries, food transport and distribution costs, and environmental regulations.

According to Numbeo, a website that uses crowdsourced information to compare the cost of living in different places around the world, grocery and restaurant prices remain significantly lower than in Iceland.

Lead photo by

Grand Warszawski/Shutterstock


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