Tuesday, 5 February 2013

LIDL prices

My husband picked up a slab of Grana Padano cheese yesterday from LIDL. He says that the LIDL variety of Grana Padano tastes better than any other Grana Padano variety I've bought. How Grana Padano got into out house, I can't really remember. But it was definitely LIDL that started it all. he must have bought it to try it one day, and then he got hooked. Whenever we run out, he says:

"Don't forget to add some grande poutana to your shopping list!"

Since I rarely go to LIDL to do my shopping, I simply pick up some of the same cheese from another supermarket. But he can always tell the difference (which isn't very hard anyway, because LIDL sells theirs packaged, while all the other supermarkets sell theirs by cutting off a piece (the customer dictates how much) from a large wheel.

When I buy Grana Padano from non-LIDL supermarkets, I can have it freshly grated at the cheese counter (instead of buying Parmesan which is more expensive).

Every week, LIDL distributes their promotional pamphlets all over the town, including in our rural suburb; there is a LIDL located close by. I used to try to get to them first before the family got their hands on them because they are full of temptations, even for myself. LIDL pamphlets are, admittedly, a form of shopping therapy, kind of like window shopping. A lot of weird and wonderful unusual - and to us Mediterranean islanders, exotic - stuff is brought in by the German-owned supermarket. But I like to impose some limits: if you insist on buying food, make sure it's something you really can't buy anywhere else for the quality/price; and most importantly, don't buy stuff from the specials-this-week because they are always sold more expensively than the same stuff in the same supermarket chain in other eurozone countries.

Husband eventually caught wind of what I was doing when he found the new pamphlets in the box of fire starter paper. So he issued an order to the children:

"Make sure you get to those pamphlets before your mother does."

I've given up now in hiding them, and I generally don't accompany him on his LIDL excursions. I know LIDL packaging when I see it. (The garden shed is full of LIDL stuff.)

The other day, I came across those pamphlets first. I stuffed them in my bag and took them to work to chuck them in the bins there. But before I did, I went window-shopping myself: drills, water guns, air compressors - very much a man's world there! And there was also the usual exotic food - this time, it was the whole Vitasia range of Asian food products.

I've been down this track before - remember my Bami Goreng noodles post? I know I pay almost twice as much for the same packet as Northern Europeans do. I suppose it's something to do with shipping costs. All this stuff is shipped into Holland, or it's packaged somewhere around there. Then it gets transported to other parts of Europe. By the time it reaches Europe's backwaters, it's always priced about 40% more than what it costs in other European countries. We're talking about stuff that gets produced and transported in gynormous amounts, with no added value from their original packaging.

Compare the product prices below. They are exactly the same product (all belonging to the VITASIA brand, LIDL's label for Asian food), being sold at exactly the same supermarket in various parts of Europe. The only difference is the time period that they are being sold - the Greek prices are the first one given for each product, current for February 2013, but the non-Greek prices (the second price) are what the same product was being sold for in another eurozone country (ie I have not included UK prices) within the last 12 months (through an internet search today):
* a packet of spring rolls: 2.99 - 1.99 (Slovenia)
* fried noodles: 1.29 - 0.79 (Holland)
* Thai sauce: 1.39 - 1.29 (Belgium)
* bamboo shoots: 0.99 - 0.59 (Ireland)
* chow mein noodles: 0.99 - 0.79 (Germany and Belgium)
* Asian wok sauce: 1.79 - 0.89 (Germany, based on kg price equivalent given as 2.64)
* prawn chips: 1.29 - 0.99 (Slovenia)
The only price I found to be the same in another eurozone country was curry paste (1.79 in Slovenia).

My husband went to LIDL last night to look for some of those drills and water guns and air compressors, but he came back home with just a packet of Grana Padano. The continuing ferry workers' strike this week has meant no transportation of anything from the mainland, which reminds me: time to stock up on rice, beans and pasta. LIDL's prices are, generally speaking, unbeatable at this end. You don't really need drills and prawn crackers to keep you going, but you do need a lot of carbs. Good thing we have plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables to supplement so we don't end up with scurvy.

PS: LIDL sponsors a cooking program on Greek TV with Diane Kochilas as the chef. From the snippets I've caught of it, it's really quite good. All the food products are from the LIDL range, but the recipes remain quite Greek at heart. 

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