Monday, April 6, 2015

How much to spend on food in France?

I recently came across an informal survey on an American forum* which invited members to describe how much they normally spent per month on buying food. The results were so interesting that I launched a similar thread on an English website** addressed to those living or thinking of living in France and surprisingly the results were remarkably similar. The US website drew over 250 comments, most of them extremely detailed (location, size of family, food preferences etc) and the English site around 40. Taking the salient points from each site, the main conclusions were:

- it depends whether you buy organic or not, there is a considerable price difference
- it depends if you are vegetarian or not (ditto)
- it depends where you live - shopping in a large city/suburban supermarket can be cheaper, as can urban (open air) markets; as can living in the country or small village where you can shop direct from producers or through a buying cooperative, otherwise the country may offer reduced choices
- it depends on how often you (have to) eat out, for example at work
- it depends on how much entertaining you do
- it depends whether you enjoy cooking at home and buy fewer packaged/prepared products

In terms of the amount spent each week or month, the main variation in price depended on the number of people in the household, and the lowest weekly/monthly expenditures were generally those of single people - though some pointed out that 'bying for one' means that you cannot always benefit from econolise of scale.

Finally, in terms of the actual amounts spend in either US dollars or Euros (the two currencies were virtually at pariety at the time, $1 being equivalent to 0.9 euro), the lowest was about 200 per month (an American graduate student) and the highest 1000 per month - a largish family who also entertained and/or ate out a lot. Both American and French spending levels were remarkably similar.

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