If you are living in Switzerland or just visiting for a limited period, you would have noticed how expensive grocery shopping is.
Why is Grocery Shopping in Switzerland so Expensive?
The reasons for such grocery high prices are behind the cost of living and most precisely on salaries and wages.
When talking about local products such as meat, eggs or cheese, the wholesale price is high when the supermarket chains buy.
Imported goods are also highly taxed due to the Swiss government’s protective policies.
Finally, salaries are higher in Switzerland than in the rest of Europe. When you put these three things together, you will find why every time you go to the grocery store, Even if you buy a few things, you end up with a hole in your pocket.
The Problem with Swiss Stores Opening Times
Switzerland opening times for supermarkets are not very long. Most Grocery Stores in cities close around 7 pm or 8 pm. However, if you go to more rural areas, you can find shops and supermarkets closing at 5 pm. On Saturdays, supermarkets close even earlier you can find supermarkets closing as soon as 4 pm in some places. You can imagine that grocery shopping can become a daunting task because of the short opening times and overlapping with working hours.
However, there are ways to save you time and money if you wisely choose the best day to do grocery shopping in Switzerland.
When should you avoid going grocery shopping in Switzerland?
Several days in Switzerland are not recommended for grocery. Let’s go through all the dates you should avoid when grocery shopping in Switzerland.
Grocery in Switzerland on Monday
Monday is the empty shelves day at Swiss supermarkets. Because a significant portion of the population does their groceries on Saturdays and supermarkets are closed on Sundays, you will find a shortage of products on Mondays.
Vegetables and fruits look old because they are still from last week. The rest of the fresh products, such as cheese or meat, are either short or leftovers from the previous week. Monday is generally a bad day to go shopping in Switzerland because of low stock and lack of offers.
Grocery in Switzerland on Tuesday
Tuesday is a decent day to do grocery shopping in Switzerland. Most of the products are by now restocked. You start to see some offers because supermarkets want to finish the stock that is a bit old or has a close expiration date. However, as operation teams of the big chains haven’t yet put on motion their marketing actions for the week, there are still not many offers where you can save money. Tuesday is the second-best day to do grocery shopping in Switzerland.
Grocery in Switzerland on Thursday
Thursdays are tricky because they are suitable for some things, not so good for others. For example, Thursdays is an excellent time to buy Alcohol. This is because most supermarket chains such as Denner or Coop have their wine festivals on that day, and you can find reasonable prices. However, as the weekend is close, you can see that the prices are slightly higher for many other products. So Thursdays are a kind of a pre-Friday.
Grocery in Switzerland on Friday
Friday is not a good day to buy groceries in Switzerland. The reason is that it’s a high affluence day. Many people go after work or leave early to buy for the weekend. Supermarkets know that, and they hike up the prices. Don’t get triggered by the offers you would see because those are targeted to make you buy a few things and increase your baskets price with others typically cheaper on weekdays.
Grocery in Switzerland on Saturday
Saturdays are by far the worst day for grocery shopping in Switzerland. Supermarkets are crowded. Shelves are empty after midday, and prices are high. If you haven’t experienced Saturday grocery in Switzerland, try it. You will feel like the middle of a concert surrounded by hundreds of people pushing you. Do not buy on Saturdays in Switzerland; it’s expensive and stressful.
The Best Day for Grocery Shopping in Switzerland
The best day for grocery shopping in Switzerland is Wednesday. Why?
- Offers are kicking in. They are pushing the products with shorter shelf life and those with large stock. All the offers are out for the rest of the week by this time.
- Restocking is completed on Tuesday afternoon, so most of the products you find in the supermarket in Switzerland on a Wednesday are fresh, and you find more variety.
- Wednesdays are one of the days with fewer people in the supermarkets. It is usually empty if you go morning, around lunchtime or early afternoon.
What are some other tips for saving money when grocery shopping in Switzerland
Shopping in Migros vs Coop
Migros is cheaper, but Coop has better quality and more variety. If you’re going to buy first need products such as milk, flour, sugar or bread, you could find that Migros is still a good option. However, if you need branded products or high-quality items, I recommend going to Coop. The difference between buying the same things between Coop and Migros could be around 10%.
Lidl and Aldi
Lidl & Aldi are the low-cost options in Switzerland. Both of them have high-quality products as well as excellent prices. The difference in the bill between Lidl and Coop could be up to 40%.
The downside is that you don’t find many outlets around you. The big ones are usually located outskirts of the city. However, Aldi usually has outlets on the train stations; keep an eye open because they are always a good option when coming back from a trip.
Shopping at Night
If you go to supermarkets before they close at night, you can find fresh foods at discounted prices.
To Good To Go
To Good To Go is an app that sells food about to be thrown away (full review here). Several shops offer baskets of bread and items close to expiring at low prices. Of course, you cannot choose the items, but flexibility is a great option to save money and avoid waste.
Choose Wednesday when grocery shopping in Switzerland if you have the opportunity. It’s the best date with the best prices and fewer people. And you when you do grocery shopping.