Grocery Shopping in Germany: A Cost Guide for Expats

Updated on
June 7, 2023

Living the expat life in Germany is an adventure in itself, complete with culinary exploration and the ever-important task of grocery shopping. While grocery costs vary worldwide, understanding the landscape of grocery shopping in Germany helps plan your budget effectively. Let's dive into the details of what it means for an expat to shop for groceries in Germany.

German Supermarkets: Quality and Variety

Germany is home to an array of supermarkets that offer a vast selection of high-quality products. Familiar names include Aldi, Lidl, Edeka, and REWE, each known for certain specialties and price points. As an expat, you'll find a myriad of local and international products, ensuring you feel right at home while also exploring new tastes.

Average Grocery Costs in Germany

Grocery costs in Germany can be influenced by various factors such as product type, brand, and location. However, on average, a single person might spend around €200-€250 on groceries per month. These costs can vary based on dietary habits, preference for organic products, or consumption of meat and alcohol.

Comparison Shopping: Making the Most of Your Euros

A smart shopping strategy can significantly reduce your grocery costs. Compare prices across different supermarkets – discounters like Aldi and Lidl often have lower prices compared to supermarkets like REWE or Edeka. Moreover, opting for store-brand products can lead to additional savings.

Local Markets and Seasonal Produce

Germany boasts a rich tradition of weekly farmers' markets, or Wochenmärkte, offering fresh, seasonal produce often directly from the growers. Shopping at these markets can offer high-quality produce and a chance to support local farmers. Keep in mind that while prices may sometimes be higher than in supermarkets, the quality often justifies the cost.

Organic Groceries in Germany: Bio is Big

Germany has a robust market for organic ("bio") products, available in regular supermarkets and specialized organic stores like Bio Company and Alnatura. While these items typically cost more than their conventional counterparts, they offer options for those seeking organic, sustainable groceries.

Savvy Shopping: Discount Chains and Bulk Buying

If you're on a tight budget, discount chains like Aldi, Lidl, and Penny Market are your allies. They offer a wide range of products at lower prices than some of their competitors. Moreover, buying in bulk for non-perishable items or items you regularly consume can lead to significant savings.

Online Grocery Shopping: Convenience and Cost

Many supermarkets offer online shopping options, providing a convenient way to shop and sometimes access to additional discounts. However, delivery charges might apply, so factor this into your overall cost calculation.

Optimal Shopping Times

To make your shopping experience more pleasant and avoid crowds, consider the timing of your grocery store visits. In Germany, supermarkets can be particularly crowded during evenings and on Saturdays. Consider shopping early in the morning or late in the evening for a quieter experience. However, keep in mind that unlike in some other countries, German supermarkets are closed on Sundays.

Understanding German Labels

As an expat, you might initially find German product labels challenging to understand. Many German grocery products come with labels that indicate the product’s origin, nutritional value, and whether it’s organic or fair trade. Some common words you might encounter include "Bio" (organic), "Freiland" (free-range), "Frisch" (fresh), "Natürlich" (natural), and "Vegetarisch" (vegetarian). Knowing these can be helpful in identifying the products that suit your preferences.

Reusable Bags and Bottle Deposits

Germany is very environmentally conscious, and this extends to grocery shopping habits as well. Most supermarkets charge for plastic bags, so bringing your reusable shopping bag is not only eco-friendly but also economical. Moreover, Germany has a "Pfand" system, a deposit-refund scheme for beverage containers. When you buy a drink, you pay a small deposit, which you get back when you return the empty bottle to the store.

Loyalty Programs and Coupons

Many German supermarkets offer loyalty programs or cards that can help you earn points or access special discounts. Make sure to check out these programs at your local supermarket - they might offer significant savings in the long run. Some supermarkets also offer digital coupons through their apps or websites.

Ethnic and Specialty Foods

If you're missing home's comfort foods, Germany's larger cities have a variety of ethnic and specialty food stores, from Asian and Middle Eastern to British and American. While these products might be more expensive than local equivalents, they can offer a taste of home.

Top 5 Trending Questions on Grocery Costs in Germany for Expats

How much does an average grocery bill come to in Germany for a single person?

The average cost of groceries for a single person in Germany can range from €200-€250 per month. However, this can vary depending on individual eating habits and preference for organic or premium products.

Are organic groceries expensive in Germany?

Organic groceries, labeled as 'bio' products in Germany, are generally more expensive than non-organic options. However, Germany has a well-developed market for organic products, and they're easily available in most supermarkets and specialized organic stores.

What are some affordable supermarkets for grocery shopping in Germany?

Discount chains such as Aldi, Lidl, and Penny Market offer a wide range of products at lower prices compared to some other supermarkets. They're excellent options for budget-conscious shoppers.

Are there any ways to save money on grocery shopping in Germany?

Yes, shopping at discount supermarkets, buying in bulk for non-perishable items, opting for store-brand products, and taking advantage of loyalty programs and digital coupons can help save money on grocery shopping.

What about online grocery shopping? Is it expensive?

Many supermarkets offer online shopping options, which can be convenient and may provide access to additional discounts. However, delivery charges may apply, so these should be factored into the overall cost.


Grocery shopping in Germany as an expat can be a cultural experience in itself. From understanding German labels and navigating various supermarkets to exploring local markets and online grocery shopping, it provides a unique insight into German life. With these tips at hand, you're well-equipped to make the most out of your grocery shopping experience in Germany while keeping an eye on your budget.

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