Below are some comparisons of US and Swiss food prices. I actually started weeping as I made this chart. I knew it was expensive here but when you see it in print, it's shocking. I used normal grocery store products (Safeway vs Migros), not fancy gourmet organic stuff. I also didn't take into account the additional savings available by shopping in bulk at Costco, etc.
Assume $1 = 1 swiss franc. When I moved here three years ago, it was $.78 = 1sfr. The franc is worth more but prices haven't dropped here. So although prices are relatively stable, everything seems even more expensive compared to the US. I've stated prices in normal US quantities, like gallons and pounds, not liters and kilos.
|Product||US price||Zurich price||% higher|
|Ground beef||$3.50/lb||Fr. 7.87/lb||124%|
|Beef Chuck Roast||$2.49/lb||Fr. 14.37/lb||422%|
|Beef Filet Mignon||$16.99/lb||Fr. 38.00/lb||124%|
|Beef Sirloin||$6.19/lb||Fr. 32.40/lb||423%|
|Pork Shoulder||$2.49/lb||Fr. 13.00/lb||422%|
|Lamb stew meat||$5.99/lb||Fr. 22.00/lb||267%|
|Whole chicken||$1.69/lb||Fr. 4.41/lb||160%|
|Boneless chicken breast||$3.99/lb||Fr. 14.00/lb||250%|
|Sweatshop eggs||$.25/piece||Fr. .40/piece||60%|
|Free range eggs||$.32/piece||Fr. .80/piece||150%|
Some things are less expensive. Vanilla beans are dirt cheap, only 2.40sfr for 3 beans. In the US, I'd pay $11 for 2 beans. A small packet of saffron (.035oz) costs $16.59, while in Zurich, the same packet would cost about Fr. 5.20.
How do these high prices affect my shopping? When I first moved here, I was paralyzed by sticker shock and got really upset every time I shopped. But with a double-punch combo of simply ignoring the prices and slowly changed our eating habits, we survive. I didn't eat much meat in the US, but here, I've dramatically reduced our family's intake. In stews, chilis, spaghetti sauce, etc., I usually use about half the meat called for in a recipe (for stew, I use 1.5 pounds instead of 3) and still cringe at the price. I usually add more veggies and/or beans to compensate. I'm scared what might happen if I move back to the US. I might eat myself into oblivion just to take advantage of the low prices.