Well just how pricey is our food? From this account, written by a fellow journalist who prefers to remain anonymous, (let’s call him M), we’re not badly off here when it comes to shopping at our supermarkets.
This is what he said in an email to friends and colleagues upon his return to South Africa.
Having just spent a month living in Madrid followed by a couple of weeks in Glasgow before returning to South Africa at the beginning of this month, I thought it would be interesting to do a consumer cost of living comparison between the three, using items that I could match up directly. I have calculated it all in rand, using ruling exchange rates but should point out that the UK costs were calculated at R20 to the pound so would be a few percent lower now.
Overall conclusion? It’s a lot cheaper living in Spain than the UK and even a bit cheaper living in South Africa compared with Spain. If you are a meat eater and a beer-drinker you need to emigrate from the UK immediately!! Alcohol costs double in the UK what it costs in Spain and that’s buying it from a bottle store.
Buy a beer in a pub in the UK and you get hit with prices for a pint that range from three to five times what we pay in a pub in SA. Spanish pubs ONLY charge around double what it costs in SA. Viva Espana!!
The prices charged by cafes and restaurants in the UK are also extortionate compared to what you pay for far better quality food in Spain. I will never again eat a “ham toastie” like the one I got in a café in Mallaig, Scotland. That cost 4.65 pound for two pieces of toasted plain white bread inside which was one transparent slice of ham and two wafer thin (I am talking microns) slices of tomato.
In Madrid you can get a “boccadillo” – a large roll stuffed full of smoked ham and tomato slices – for between two and three euros.
Please note that the general population in the UK and Spain are not that well paid compared to South Africa. It’s only the bankers, traders, consultants, stockbrokers, accountants, head hunters etc who pull down big bucks there. The rest appear to be on wages that are the same or slightly higher than what we get here when you do the currency conversions. Bottom line is they are not being paid enough to compensate for the higher prices they are being charged.
I freely admit this is a subjective assessment I have reached through conversations with people that I know in the UK and that I met in Madrid.
Now throw in the other major issues like the weather, the cost of housing and the UK’s present infrastructure compared to Spain. I must point out that Spain’s rail system is streets ahead of the UK. It has a network of high speed trains that operate efficiently and at between 30% and 40% of the cost of a comparable train journey in the UK. You have to ask why anyone in their right mind continues to live in the UK.
I freely admit this is the opinion of someone who has lived in Africa most of his life and has gotten used to being able to rely on the sun shining for at least 90% of the year which, of course, is why I don’t live in Cape Town.
PRICES, JUNE 2016 Pounds and euros converted to rands at ruling exchange rates
|Product||Carrefour Madrid||Tesco Port Glasgow|
Checkers/Liquor City Jhb
|Grilled chicken||R 97.58||R 121.74||R 70.00|
|Carrots 1kg||R 8.00||R 9.13||R 11.90|
|Onions 1kg||R 16.40||R 13.20||R 13.99|
|Potatoes 1kg||R 19.68||R 20.29||R 12.99|
|Tomatoes 1kg||R 24.40||R 28.00||R 13.99|
|1L fresh milk||R 18.86||R 19.27||R 15.00|
|1L UHT milk||R 9.84||R 18.26||R 12.00|
|6 eggs large||R 15.58||R 20.29||R 12.99|
|Fresh chicken/kg||R 35.26||R 46.26||R 37.99|
|Colgate toothpaste||R 32.80||R 30.43||R 12.00|
|Shampoo 360ml||R 65.60||R 101.45||R 84.99|
|Floro marge 600g tub||R 42.64||R 30.43||R 21.99|
|Six pack cans beer||R 59.04||R 101.45||R 59.00|
|Bottle Mateus rose||R 54.00||R 101.45||R 89.00|
|Tin of mushrooms||R 15.90||R 19.00||R 17.99|
|500m Coca Cola||R 13.00||R 25.36||R 9.49|
|Ariel detergent 3L||R 178.00||R 264.00||R 110.00|
|Fillet steak/kg||R 279.00||R 608.00||R 209.00|
|Lamb chops/kg||R 261.00||R 160.70||R 119.00|