Grocery prices are of interest not only if you are planning on cooking for yourself in Ireland. Like in self-catering accommodation, in a mobile home, in your own holiday home, or on a cruiser. They are also a good general indicator of price levels in the country. So here are some basic things and their prices in 2016, as found in an average supermarket in a semi-rural location.
Grocery Prices in Ireland - the Essentials
- Apple or orange juice (non-organic, prepacked) – € 0.90 per 1
- Butter (salted) – € 2.29 per 500 g
- Camembert or Brie – € 2.00 per 100 g
- Carrots – € 0.85 per kg
- Cheddar cheese – € 4.00 per 200 g
- Chicken (whole, medium sized) – € 6.00
- Chicken fillets – € 12 per kg
- Coffee (non-specialty, prepacked) – € 2.99 per 100 g instant, € 3.99 per 227 g ground
- Cooked Ham (prepacked) – € 1.50 per 125 g
- Cucumber – € 0.95 for one
- Eggs (non-organic, prepacked) – € 1.80 per six large
- Flour – € 1.30 per kg
- Goat's milk – € 2.75 per 1 l
- Lamb chops – € 16 per kg
- Margarine – € 1.50 per 500 g
- Marmalade or jam – from € 1.00 per medium-sized glass
- Milk (non-organic, prepacked) – € 1.50 per 2 l
- Mineral Water (in large bottles) – € 0.85 per 2 l
- Pâté (plain varieties, non-gourmet) – € 1.65 per 175 g
- Potatoes – from € 1.00 per kg, 10 kg € 4.99
- Salad – € 0.85 per head
- Salami (prepacked) – € 2.50 per 160 g
- Salmon (smoked, non-organic farmed) – € 25 per kg
- Sliced white bread (for toasting or sandwiches) – € 0.70 per 800 g
- Soda bread (sold as a loaf) – € 2.50 per 500 g
- Soft cheese – € 1.70 per 200 g
- Soy milk – € 1.80 per 1 l
- Spaghetti – from € 1.00 per kg
- Steak mince – € 5 per kg
- Sugar – € 0.95 per kg
- Tea (simple black tea) – € 1.80 per 80 teabags or € 3.50 per 250 g
- Tomatoes – from € 4.00 per kg
- Wholemeal bread (sold as a loaf) – € 3.00 per 500 g
Seasonal Variations in Grocery Prices
Unless you buy frozen food, you will notice some seasonal fluctuation in prices - mainly in the smaller shops, which cannot buy in the same bulk that supermarkets do. Whatever is "in season" (either fresh from the field or a typical seasonal bestseller, like Brussels sprouts around Christmas) may be quite a bit cheaper.
There are no major fluctuations in the prices of canned or frozen goods, unless there is a "special offers" campaign on, obviously.
Local Variations in Grocery Prices
The prices given above are for the Republic of Ireland in general. You will, however, find differences in prices depending on the area you shop in. Generally speaking, the more rural the area is, the more you can expect to pay. With the exception of the very city centers, which are usually more expensive than the suburbs.
Prices in Northern Ireland, albeit being in Pounds Sterling, generally tend to even out at the bottom of the bill. Cross-border shopping only pays off if you are an experienced practitioner of the art, and tend to keep a keen eye on prices. For tourists, it generally could prove to be a waste of time.
Which Shops to Choose
Here's the crunch - depending on where you shop, half a liter of mineral water may cost you anything between 20 Cents and two Euros ... and that's just for starters. So choose wisely. Here are the main shopping opportunities ranked (very roughly) by price, starting at the lowest level:
- Bargain basement stores may have a variety of goods on sale at knock-down prices, mainly canned foods, soup sachets, sweets, and soft drinks. Look for B&M (Northern Ireland only) for good choice and value, otherwise try Poundland (Northern Ireland only, branded Dealz in the Republic), Mr. Price (Republic only), or any of the low-cost outlets usually found in either the lesser attractive parts of the town centers, or in industrial estates.
- The large supermarket chains are the ones to look for is you want cut-price deals and are willing (and able) to live with unbranded goods. Look for Aldi, Asda (Northern Ireland only), Lidl, SuperValu, and Tesco.
- Mid-range prices can be found in supermarkets like Sainsbury's or Dunnes Stores, but also in many meat outlets across the country (usually found near processing plants or in industrial estates). Centra supermarkets tend to have a very similar range of products to SuperValu (they belong to the same company), but with a slightly higher price.
- Prices in Marks & Spencer tend to be slightly higher, but the small portions (ideal for singles) make for less waste and a lighter bag. Ethnic food stores, most either East European or Asian, tend to have similar prices - though you might chance upon a bargain here.
- Avoid the small "convenience stores" and petrol stations - in most cases you will pay far more than in any other shop.
Note that this is no hard-and-fast list, special offers and bundle prices can make an expensive store suddenly cheaper.