Buying UK Groceries in France
While you may be keen to immerse yourself totally in French life – learning the language, adopting French customs and leaving your old, stressed out life behind, there are some things that an average expat just cannot do without.
Most of those things tend to be food related (although getting television from the UK is also pretty high priority for the average expat).
Buying British groceries in France can be pretty hit and miss – it all depends on where you live in France and what the expat community is like. Assuming you have not moved to France to live like an Englishman, there may just be a handful of things that you miss from home and want to find out how to get your tanned hands on them.
Buying UK Groceries in French SupermarketsMany large supermarkets in France have a half decent range of international products. It is popular for the big hypermarkets to have an international section where they have a shelf or two for a number of different countries. It is relatively easy to find authentic paella rice from Spain, pasta from Italy and German pickled cabbage, not to mention the classic expat hamper items. No doubt you will find those goodies you are looking for – Heinz Baked Beans, Marmite, Typhoo tea bags and HP sauce on the UK shelf.
You can also usually find a limited selection of UK groceries in smaller supermarkets, especially in tourist areas.
However, with both of these options the prices really are staggering. While you may not mind shelling out €15 for a Christmas pudding once a year, the every day items are also very expensive. Even in the largest hypermarkets, a very small jar of Marmite can cost €5 and a tin of baked beans €3. This can work out very expensive if you are planning to make these British basket essentials part of your regular French diet.
Buying UK Groceries OnlineA great way to save money on the French supermarket prices but still get your fix of British classics is to buy from UK supermarkets online. You could ask your friends and family to send you groceries that you have had delivered to them from the supermarket online store, but this can prove terribly expensive in postage and will not be a long term solution before your pals get cheesed off with posting your cheddar.
There are an ever growing number of online shops that send expats groceries for a far more reasonable rate. It is worth asking around your expat friends to see if they recommend a particular website. Although they are not as cheap as actual UK supermarkets, with none of the exciting ‘Buy One Get One Free’ offers usually, they are far less expensive than French supermarkets for UK products, even including postage costs.
Typical costs for a tin of Heinz Baked Beans on a UK-based expat online supermarket is about €0.70, which is far less than the French supermarkets. Postage costs tend to be around €11 for up to 30kg, which is a very reasonable rate for a decent weight – it would cost far more for your family to post the same weight to you through the Post Office.
It is worth making up a large order, even if you split it with friends, so that you utilise the 30kg postage limit, making buying UK groceries in France very cost effective.