Sunday, May 13, 2012

Grocery shopping in Sweden

The bridge that pass Iddefjorden marks the border between Norway and Sweden. Photo: Bård Halvorsen
I am, once again, blessed with a full refrigerator and freezer. This as I and my friend Terje went to Sweden to do some grocery shopping yesterday.

At Svinesund you pay  in Swedish kroner. Photo: P S Burton
I believe that one successfactor for a fincially smart house hold is to do your main grocery shopping twice a month, just buying your odd carton of milk and bread when you've run out of it.

Yesterday, Saturday, I and Terje took the 1 hour 30 minute drive down to the gigantic Nordy centre at Svinesund, Sweden to buy our groceries before our national day coming up Thursday next week. During two hours I spent SEK 1 750 on food and wine, including a magnum bottle of sparkling wine. In addition to this I could use both Terje and kine quota to buy cigars to my friend Ketil.
That is 1 750 Swedish kroner that converts into 1 474 Norwegian kroner making the shopping experience even cheaper.
There is not much to save on ground beef. Photo: Rainer Zenz
- There are money to be saved, but buy smart
When passing the border to save money, it is important to be aware of what you will save money on.

You must count the fuel cost into your total cost of the trip, so you must concentrate on articles that are expensive in Norway to get a positive economic result.

Another important factor is the quality. If you can get a superior product compared to a similar product in Norway at much the same price it will count as well.   

Even though food in Norway is relatively expensive compared to Sweden, prices have come down and there is food that you will save very little on as: 
  • Ground beef: Has become much cheaper these last years, and the quality of the products are similar.
  • Chicken products as wings, drumsticks and ground chicken meeat is cheap in Norway if you know where to buy it, but chicken breast is cheaper in Sweden and definitely worth buying. 
  • Pork: Is cheap in Norway
Duck is inexpensive in Sweden. Photo: Clara Wu
30-70 % cheaper in Sweden
If you calculate the price as well as the 15 % currency saving there is a lot to save on a lot of products.
Big savings you get on more expensive cuts of meat and meats with a low domestic production, as well as imported cured meats.
Compared to Norway you will save around: 
  • 70 % on duck breast
  • 70 % on whole frozen duck 
  • 50 % on Italian and Spanish cured ham and sausages 
  • 50 % on sliced cold cuts 
  • 50 % on sliced and grated cheese
  • 40 % on duck thighs 
  • 40 % on European cheese 
  • 30-40 % on sliced and diced bacon 
Often you will have to buy large quantities. That is a great bargain for families as well as couples and singles, provided they have a freezer. Large quantities may be frozen down in large zip-lock bags or smaller for portions.

Check use by date when buying large packets. Photo: Tanzania
Keep in mind when buying in large quantities  
Expiry date: Look at expiry date when buying large quantities. This is particularly important for small households. Large portions may be frozen down and used later, but do ensure that the product has not been frozen earlier.

BE SMART - Organize the products by expiry date in the refrigerator as groups with expiry date e.g. within the same month so you do not forget to use a product and have to chuck it in the bin.

Portions - frozen foods: I am single, and it important for me to buy quantities suitable for 3-4 dinners. Many packages have separate bits of meat so you can take out one by one very suitable for small households.  When buying duck breasts, however, they are frozen in pairs and weigh up to 800 grams suitable for dinners for more than 4.

BE SMART - Defrost and prepare a large portions to re-freeze is a clever way to save money when seeing a very cheap product frozen in large portions. 

Get to know Norwegian customs regulations
There are limits on how much groceries you may bring over the border: Norway is not a member of the European Union and regulations apply on import of wide tange of articles into Norway. 

Norwegian customs concentrate on alcohol, tobacco and drug smugglers but there are limits on how much you may bring over the border. Be aware that excess amounts of alcohol asnd tobacco may be confiscated and you may even be fined.

There are, however, limits to how much you may bring of groceries back into Norway. Even though these rules are rarely enforced, large quantities of food may, in the case of a custom control, may be confiscated by customs staff.

When we returned yesterday there was a customs control, and we had to drive through the check point. We had no excess amount of what they were looking forward and we were not checked.

But do consult the Norwegian customs for more information on how much you may bring into the country

Where to buy groceries on the Norwegian-Swedish border

Vis Shopping groceries over the border i et større kart

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