Grocery Expense USA vs. HK

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2004
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    19

    Grocery Expense USA vs. HK

    Hello all,

    It seems that one of the questions that repeatedly comes up is how much does it cost. Well I did the grocery shopping for my house in Arkansas (where the people are barefoot and toothless) and also looked on Park-n-Shop's website for the same item. The bottom line...assuming you buy "name brand" items, groceries cost 75% more in HK over the state that claims Bill Clinton (not me personally). Below is a list of the items I compared. Since I have not actually been to HK (hoping to make a visit in Oct) I am guessing the Park-n-Shop website is up to date. Some items were not sold in the same size so I had to extrapolate the cost. This could make it more or less expensive depending, but for the most part I think it is good data.

    ------------------------------ HK------USA
    Campbell's Soup ---------------1.53-----1.19
    milk / gal ----------------------9.2------2.99
    cheese shredded 2 cups -------5.11-----3.05
    cream cheese------------------2.55----1.69
    12 oz block cheese-------------5.76----2.9
    cheese 12 slices----------------2.29----2.75
    margarine 375 gm---------------3.3-----1.28
    wheat bread 380 g--------------1.83----1.58
    rice 2 kg -----------------------2.75 ---1.69
    canola oil 48oz --------------- 3.83---- 2.19
    Prego Sauce 14 oz ----------- 2.28----- 1.19
    Starkist tuna 6 oz in spring water--1.99-- 1.05
    Del Monte 411g cut grean beans--1.3 --0.85
    Kellog's Eggos 12.3 oz ---------3.83-- 1.89
    Tyson Chicken breast 2.5 lbs ---15.32--- 8.99
    Pop Secret popcorn 298g ------- 2.72 ---2.2

    Total -----------------------65.59 ---37.48


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Posts
    12,383

    Killroy, Yes, the P&S shop is pretty updated. However, what you'll find once you get here is many of them items are on sale and some of the replacement / local products are just as good.

    You'd probably be better of comparing to a New York grocery chain.


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    14

    ...or learn to like soy.


  4. #4

    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Hong Kong
    Posts
    580

    Out of curiosity I looked up some Wellcome prices...

    5kg of rice is HK$26.90 so 2kg would only be about US$1.50 (10% cheaper than the US price)

    And a 185g tin of tuna in brine goes for HK$4.90 = US$0.60 (40% cheaper than the US price)

    If you want to create a reproduction of a small part of the US in Hong Kong then it will inevitably be expensive, but I don't see the point of coming here to do that. My feeling is that on average, buying locally-branded products (often the supermarket chain's own brands) then grocery shopping is somewhat cheaper in HK than in the UK at least (and judging by the examples above also than the US).


  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    19

    There is no doubt that the local store's product would be cheaper. That would hold true for the store here in the state's. For example local grocery store sells food under the name "Best Choice", which is usually cheaper than the name brand stuff. This exercise was more for comparing known apples to known apples. It is unlikely that Starkist tuna is processed with different ingredient composition in different parts of the world, however it is very likely that brand X sold at my local grocery chain will have a different composition than brand Y sold in HK which is why I stuck with the name brand items.

    I guess my concern is I am still in the begining stages of negotations with my company and want to minimize my fanacial surprises, unless of course they are in my favor.

    I'm not sure what the advantage would be for me to look at a store's prices in New York. It is not relative to me in my current location (Arkansas) or my future location (HK).


  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Back in Toronto now - after 10 1/2 years in HK
    Posts
    945

    Fair point. Expatriates' COLA packages vis-a-vis home country are done pretty much the same way except sometimes with more resources at the surveying company's disposal (at least in theory). Some can localize more, others cannot. Some expatriates will be very finicky about buying meat items and vegetables originating in the mainland (some of it for good reason), others like us don't care and hope our innate immunities from living in a variety of lands will take care of things. Some can't do without milk (which costs n times more in HK than in N. America) while others have never been into milk or milk products. You're perfectly justified in doing what you're doing, flyroy.

    Forget UK, compare things with what you're spending in your town if you can. Once you're here, you will make adjustments out of choice, not because you undernegotiated.


  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    19

    So HKFella are you telling me that for training purposes I should be picking gum off of the parking lot like my two year old. That way I'll be prepared for any "bad meat" or other non-descript food item that I might consume.

    Can you explain what you mean by "Expatriates' COLA packages vis-a-vis home country are done pretty much the same way except sometimes with more resources at the surveying company's disposal (at least in theory)." I'm just a simple country boy who sometimes needs it spelled out for him.


  8. #8

    Join Date
    Apr 2003
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    12,383

    COLA - Cost of Living Allowance


  9. #9

    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Los Angeles now in Sheung Wan
    Posts
    25

    Coming from Los Angeles to here, EVERYTHING is cheaper, except maybe of course housing...you get more space in California, but it's about the same price. I was shocked when going to grocery stores to see how "cheap" everything was. I guess it just depends on where you lived in the US before you moved here. I was used to paying about $13 USD for a "girly" drink In LA after all was said and done--- tip and all, so paying $65HKD for one here is cheap (oh and no parking attendent or parking fee at the bars is great too!)

    Not that all that helps anyone here, but thought it should be said!


  10. #10

    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    HK
    Posts
    1,163

    Compare to LA

    Pixen: Comparing to LA parking bills are higher ( no more free parking in the evenings). My starbuks coffee is more expensive at 7-11 , my vegetarian food costs more but yeah no more tips.

    So I guess there are pros and cons.


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