Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The Grocery Store Challenge

Living in the heart of Stockholm has its perks. One is that everything seems to be within walking distance including grocery stores, which these days, I seem to visit more and more often. My fridge is the size of a fridge in a traditional US college dorm. And now that I think about, it may be even smaller than my fridge at Colorado. Regardless, it's small and I share it with another person, complicating the fact that very little fits in it. Thankfully, some items are smaller here. Milk is purchased in liters instead of gallons. Eggs can be bought in packs of six (I know this is similar to the US). And I seem to live on small Dole packs of spinach and carrots.

Luckily, I live very close to four grocery stores. Lidl is literally next door to my building. Coop Konsum is a block and half away. ICA is 3-4 blocks in the opposite direction and Hemkop is roughly a mile away. Lidl is known to be CHEAP - and what comes with cheap is slightly defunct produce and a need for a high level of patience. Coop Konsum, while much nicer in appearance and products is not as nice in price. I still haven't been to ICA though it seems like the middle ground between the other two. Further, the store supposedly has NONFAT milk (all others carry 0.5% fat). Hemkop is a store that supposedly has anything you would want, though I've been in, I've never purchased anything - likely do its distance from my house.

Given that markets here have a very limited selection of items compared to supermarkets in the US, I find myself more and more wanting to go to TWO grocery stores. Sometimes the reason is price, while other times I simply like different products at different stores. This is such a new phenomenon for me as I typically go to ONE store for a week's worth of food versus multiple stores every 2-3 days because I don't have room for much. RetailRelay, a grocery delivery service in Charlottesville, has one of its value propositions as the fact that they'll go to multiple specialty shops so that you don't have to. I never quite understood that... until now.

One other item I'd like to draw attention to is cereal. I LOVE cereal. Some days, out of choice, I'll have cereal for multiple meals. In the states, I've gotten good at pinpointing cereals with high fiber and relatively low sugar. This is in contrast to Sweden, where I've pretty much decided almost all cereals have lots of sugar. I can't quite figure out if part of that is because the measuring system is different (servings tend to be noted per 100g instead of cups) or they simply like more sugar. Even my relatively "healthy" cheerios are sweeter here. It's a bit odd.

First item of business when I return to the US - COSTCO! Simply because I can. ;)


Elizabeth Dark said...

Ah, grocery shopping in other countries! It's such an experience :). When we were in Australia, we had to go to the butcher, the grocery store AND the farmer's market. Thank God, I didn't have a job!! :) Even though it's a pain, you'll probably miss it when you leave ;).

Metal said...

I had the exact reverse problem when I moved to US..converting metric system to punds and miles. ;P