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This is an observation rather than a question, however I would invite comments.
I did some grocery shopping (for home delivery) on-line at Tesco (UK supermarket) yesterday and, as I had an hour to kill this morning, I decided to look at the same grocery items on-line at Carrefour, the French supermarket. I was surprised how some items were a lot more expensive in France.
I then googled 'cost of living France UK' and found a wesite called www.numbeo.com which stated that grocery prices are 22.7% cheaper in the UK. That's a lot! The website also gives a breakdown of the costs of different items such as transport, utility bills, clothing and rent. It makes France sound like an expensive place to live. :confused2:
 

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This is an observation rather than a question, however I would invite comments.
I did some grocery shopping (for home delivery) on-line at Tesco (UK supermarket) yesterday and, as I had an hour to kill this morning, I decided to look at the same grocery items on-line at Carrefour, the French supermarket. I was surprised how some items were a lot more expensive in France.
I then googled 'cost of living France UK' and found a wesite called www.numbeo.com which stated that grocery prices are 22.7% cheaper in the UK. That's a lot! The website also gives a breakdown of the costs of different items such as transport, utility bills, clothing and rent. It makes France sound like an expensive place to live. :confused2:

Perhaps, but you might lose weight and not get diabetes in France !!!
 

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As usual, Smeggie is quite right.

I've looked at the numbeo site before, it seems to do a very good job with the data available. However, it does not help you with the difference in eating habits. Certainly if you try to move to France from the UK and continue your same eating habits it will be more expensive. The French eat differently, and probably more healthily than Brits....in general and no, I haven't conducted a scientific study!

One thing that I do notice is that Brits consume a lot more alcohol than the French. I've got 5 "drinking age" French grandchildren and they stick to soft drinks! Not so in the UK.

However, I continue to work at my personal contribution to alcohol consumption in France.

hic.....DejW
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Smeg and DejW, we eat really healthily and cook all our meals from scratch yet many of the items were more expensive. I think the 'numbeo' site data is based on a like-for-like comparison. And my less-than-scientific comparison between Tesco and Carrefour was like-for-like, not a comparison between between an unhealthy UK diet and a healthy French diet. :)
But you both have a point regarding French diet versus UK diet. In my experience, you don't see as many obese people in France as you do in the UK and (once again in my experience) French people don't love takeaways as much as the Brits, or drink beer as if it was a sport.
I wonder if it's anything to do with the way French children seem to eat very healthily at school, developing a good eating habit early on.
That said, obesity rates are increasing in France too ...
 

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Several years ago when they started promoting the "manger-bouger" program on the television (that's the French "eat healthy" campaign) - they had just three or four basic rules for healthier eating. The two that most struck me at the time were:

Try to include a wide range of different types of food in your diet.
and
Try not to snack between meals.

The first one was impressive because it basically said to eat a little bit of everything, but not too much of any one thing. The second one flew right in the face of the American tendency to eat "on the run" and more or less constantly throughout the day. (There is one school of thought in the US that to lose weight it's better to eat 5 or 6 times a day rather than just limiting yourself to the basic 3 meals.)

I think one of the "tricks" is that you buy things in smaller quantities here, plus there tends to be less waste of excess food.

It might be interesting to know what sorts of items you were comparing, too. I'm thinking of any number of "British import" items here in the grocery stores that really do seem to be rather expensive - as well as certain items that aren't all that easy to find the stores here. (Plus the influence of the local marchés and shops, which are rumored to be more expensive - but given that you can buy a single steak or pork chop or just 250 gr. of butter, may work out better in the long run.) But in any event, I do know that my shopping habits are quite different from when I was living in the UK - or back in the US.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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These threads always amuse me.
I mean - if there were no differences between one country and another, what would be the point in moving?
Different patterns of consumption, different economies, different market forces, different attitudes, different cultures.
Apparently Spain's cheaper than the UK, Estonia's cheaper than Spain, Hungary's cheaper than Estonia - funny, isn't it?
 

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These threads always amuse me.
I mean - if there were no differences between one country and another, what would be the point in moving?... ...funny, isn't it?
What is interesting is the UK imports 50% of it's food (The Guardian, 2016), and 1/2 of that comes from the EU (Quartz Media, 2016).

Normally, importing food should add to it's cost. So, it would be quite interesting to understand the specific factors affecting retail food prices in the U.K., France and other countries in the EU. BTW, only anecdotal, but Italian food prices are also, apparently, lower than France. Take a drive to Ventimigla, Italy and you'd swear you never left France.
 

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Again I think it depends on what you are eating and more importantly the quality For example a huge Charolais steak was €6 .99 in Lidls last week What would that cost in the UK? In my opinion there is not that much difference in a weekly shop between France and what I was paying in the UK when taken as a whole basket
 

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when I visit north west italy (couple of hours drive from here) or go to Munich, I notice that shopping at the supermarket is cheaper compared to what I see here... especially when it comes to fresh vegetables, fruits and fish.... but I understand it depends on many factors: income rate, supply/demand, transportation and taxes, eating habits ....etc.
My wife is always commenting on this point that life is cheaper outside France but I guess it is the overall picture that needs to be studied: daily expenses, salaries, rent prices, health coverage ....etc.
 

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What is interesting is the UK imports 50% of it's food (The Guardian, 2016), and 1/2 of that comes from the EU (Quartz Media, 2016).

Normally, importing food should add to it's cost. So, it would be quite interesting to understand the specific factors affecting retail food prices in the U.K., France and other countries in the EU. BTW, only anecdotal, but Italian food prices are also, apparently, lower than France. Take a drive to Ventimigla, Italy and you'd swear you never left France.
One would be labour costs in France - don't forget that the UK has those disgraceful zero-hour contracts and that in France both employers and employees contribute to health care (the French health care system is a contributory one).

But as others have said, there are other factors that affect food prices (and I have found that the numbeo site has prices for basic products that are higher than I pay, so I guess it also depends where you shop and whether you take advantage of specials.

However I do consider housing costs in France to be high compared with average earnings, although someone from the UK might find them low.

Then there's also the issue of exchange rates at any given time.

Swings and roundabouts?
 

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This is an observation rather than a question, however I would invite comments.
I did some grocery shopping (for home delivery) on-line at Tesco (UK supermarket) yesterday and, as I had an hour to kill this morning, I decided to look at the same grocery items on-line at Carrefour, the French supermarket. I was surprised how some items were a lot more expensive in France.
I then googled 'cost of living France UK' and found a wesite called www.numbeo.com which stated that grocery prices are 22.7% cheaper in the UK. That's a lot! The website also gives a breakdown of the costs of different items such as transport, utility bills, clothing and rent. It makes France sound like an expensive place to live. :confused2:
Well, France is most certainly not a cheap place to live, at least IMHO. I guess whether it's 'expensive' depends on where you come from, your income, the lifestyle you desire and exchange rates. But Brits moving to France because they think it's cheaper than the UK are likely to be extremely disappointed and some may very well find themselves in financial difficulty within a few years.
 

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It's a big mistake to compare "like for like" too closely. As EH has said, the exchange can change that literally overnight. There's also the matter of local income to consider. If your source of income is coming from outside France it may have no relation to what someone on a local salary has to spend for the "necessities."

A big example is for retirees. The retired folks here in France are getting French pensions, but also are unlikely to be paying mortgages. People just don't move on retirement all that much. And, for renters over age 60 or 65, there are some legal protections against overly steep rent increases. For the home owners, there are some concessions made to elderly homeowners on taxe fonciere and taxe d'habitation if they are on limited incomes.

Also, as EH says, it depends on where you shop. It takes living here a while before you learn which staple items are best purchased where - whether for quality or price.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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I don't know how the French eat and stay skinny. I have gained 20 lbs. in the 8 months that I have been here. LOL I think our budget for food at the grocery store seems comparable to the US - but it is the restaurants that are a killer. 35 - 50 euros for just a simple dinner. In the US - our typical night out was $20 - $30. Of course I do have to admit, that always includes Sangria or wine here. :)

KJ
 

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My theory, based on no economic or financial wisdom whatsoever, is that every economy naturally balances itself out so that the average person can afford an average lifestyle. Your money goes on different things, but one way or another, it goes. An average "EU" family simply could not pay UK housing costs, French healthcare costs, Swiss grocery prices etc, the money wouldn't stretch. And obviously we think how nice it would be to pay French house prices, UK healthcare costs and whatever the cheapest grocery prices in the EU are - but then the state would rub its hands at all that disposable income building up in savings accounts, and bring in a raft of new taxes.
I think I'll call it ET's law of average costs.
 

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I don't know how the French eat and stay skinny. I have gained 20 lbs. in the 8 months that I have been here. LOL I think our budget for food at the grocery store seems comparable to the US - but it is the restaurants that are a killer. 35 - 50 euros for just a simple dinner. In the US - our typical night out was $20 - $30. Of course I do have to admit, that always includes Sangria or wine here. :)

KJ
I got so aggravated with that book about why French women don't get fat. Really - the author should come out here to the outer edges of the Ile de France and they'll see there are plenty of overweight folks. OK, maybe not as many as back in the States, but still, they exist in reasonable numbers.

But I think most Americans put on weight their first years here. One thing is the eating habits/culture. There really is almost no snacking between meals, and at meals, serving sizes are smaller. People also eat more slowly so they appreciate what they are eating here.

If you're still eating in the same manner as you did in the US, you're probably consuming quite a bit more food - and then of course having wine with more meals, etc, etc. It takes a while to break your old eating habits and take on new ones.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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On the subject of food prices in supermarkets, I often find that it's cheaper to buy the smaller version, e.g. I buy four packets of 125g butter which is cheaper than buying a 500g pack. It's not logical, but why not?
 

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My theory, based on no economic or financial wisdom whatsoever, is that every economy naturally balances itself out so that the average person can afford an average lifestyle. Your money goes on different things, but one way or another, it goes. An average "EU" family simply could not pay UK housing costs, French healthcare costs, Swiss grocery prices etc, the money wouldn't stretch. And obviously we think how nice it would be to pay French house prices, UK healthcare costs and whatever the cheapest grocery prices in the EU are - but then the state would rub its hands at all that disposable income building up in savings accounts, and bring in a raft of new taxes.
I think I'll call it ET's law of average costs.
One of the things that put us off France was the house prices, especially when you take the ancillary costs (taxes, etc.) into account. Making our own survey of food prices in Carrefour and Auchan, branded foodstuffs were also quite expensive. Vegetables were often cheaper, which, I suppose is good if you are a vegetarian. Apart from some wines, many were overrated and overpriced. On the whole we find that Spain is a much cheaper place to live on all counts.
 

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Prices in the US vary tremendously, but when I visit Seattle, I find mostly higher prices than here in Nice, especially for fresh fruits and vegetables, yogurt, salad dressing. The supermarkets here have fewer choices and generally smaller quantities, so I buy less and am getting much healthier.
 

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On the subject of food prices in supermarkets, I often find that it's cheaper to buy the smaller version, e.g. I buy four packets of 125g butter which is cheaper than buying a 500g pack. It's not logical, but why not?
I noticed the same thing yesterday with mushrooms. Was intending to buy a 500g barquette, then I noticed that the 250g barquettes were less than half the price so I was going to buy 2 of those, then I thought No, I'll buy 250g now and get some more at the weekend, that way the mushrooms will be fresher.
Suits me but as you say, it's not logical when you think of the handling and packaging costs.
 
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