Three of my most read posts are a series I did where I listed the Denmark prices for beauty items, liquor and dining out, and an assortment of groceries. Now I’m making this a monthly feature documenting Denmark prices for food by posting an itemized list of my monthly grocery spending and savings here in Aarhus, Denmark’s second-largest city.
I hope this will give you a realistic look at Denmark prices for food, the cost of living in one of the world’s most expensive countries, and how I still manage to save a significant amount of money with some planning and flexibility.
Denmark Prices for Food: How I Shop
Before you look at this and think that I either have an eating disorder or eat a lot of junk, let me explain how I manage my grocery bill. I grew up pretty poor and I learned from the best when it comes to shopping weekly offers, stockpiling, and buying in bulk. It’ll take a few months before you see the full picture, but at the moment I have a good supply of dried beans, lentils, rice, almonds, flaxseed, oats, tahini, peanut butter, TVP, vital wheat gluten, frozen vegetables, etc., so I’ve mostly been shopping to supplement items from my pantry this past month.
Denmark doesn’t have coupons, so my savings strategy is a combination of:
- Buying what’s on special offer
- Buying deeply discounted stuff that’s about to go out of date
- Knowing which store has the best price on what
I let these factors decide my weekly menu. I’m pretty easy going in this regard and I think it keeps things interesting.
Living within walking distance of all the major grocery stores in Aarhus makes it easy to shop multiple stores for the best prices. I know which store has the best price on things that never get marked down. For example, one Asian grocer sells tempeh for 3 kr. (about $.50) cheaper than the Asian grocer around the corner and the price difference on some items (e.g., sambel oelek, sweet chili sauce, soy sauce) can be more than $1. By shopping at both stores, I save money and support two small businesses. Some of you are probably rolling your eyes at shopping at two places in order to save $1.50, but it takes me less than 10 minutes, and it all adds up—eventually it adds up to enough to buy a Louis Vuitton bag or a piece of antique jewelry.
Dried beans and lentils are finally starting to show up in the regular grocery stores, but the selection is limited and they’re on the expensive side. Every few months, I drive to Bazar Vest (a Middle Eastern-style bazar) in a suburb of Aarhus and stock up on dried beans, lentils, chipotles in adobo, pickled vegetables, spices, and other things that either aren’t readily available or are expensive in the regular grocery stores. There’s also a great secondhand store out there and a bakery that makes the best sandwich baguettes I’ve had outside of the States. I usually splurge on falafel and a pakora for lunch—and Coke in a glass bottle! I look forward to going there.
Denmark Prices for Food: How I Cook
Where’s the fresh fruit and vegetables? I’m not a huge fan of fruit, but I work onsite twice a week in an office that has free fruit, so I try to eat at least a couple of bananas. I’m really more of a veg fan and I cannot bear to waste food, so I mostly use frozen vegetables… peas, green beans, corn, broccoli, wok mix.
When fresh vegetable prices come down in the summer and I can grill out on my balcony, you’ll see a lot more eggplant, courgette, red peppers, portobellos, etc. In the winter, you’ll see a lot of root vegetables, which I make into soups and curries along with lentils.
I moved to Denmark about six years before vegetarianism did, so I got in the habit of making everything from scratch. Things have improved in this regard but unless they’re on deep discount and about to go out of date, I don’t use meat substitutes. Once in awhile I’ll try something new or pick up some grilled seitan strips and make a Hawaiian barbecue “chicken” pizza but mostly I make my own veggie burgers, seitan, tofu bacon, etc.
I’m not great at cooking for one but I make sure to eat an actual dinner every night. I’m not falling into the single person trap of eating junk. Fortunately I don’t mind eating the same thing several days in a row so I only have to cook a few times a week. Still, it’s a game of Tetris trying to figure out how to use up a whole container of créme fraîche or package of cheese before it spoils, without having to buy more in order to bridge the gap.
Denmark Prices for Food: My April Grocery Spend
Here’s an itemized list of what I’ve bought in April, what I’ve spent, and what I’ve saved. All in all, I’ve saved 47.4% off the regular Denmark prices for food. To convert the Danish Kroner prices to US Dollars, I’ve used the IRS’ 2017 yearly average currency exchange rate of 6.86 DKK= 1 USD.
|Item||Regular Price |
|Bread - Baguettes (x3)||11.85 ($1.73)||9.48 ($1.38)||2.37 ($.385)||20%|
|Bread - Baguettes (x2)||7.90 ($1.15)||7.90 ($1.15)||0%|
|Bread - Sandwich Rolls||20.95 ($3.05)||6.00 ($.87)||14.95 ($2.18)||71.4%|
|Bread - Sandwich||20.95 ($3.05)||3.00 ($.44)||17.95 (2.61)||85.7%|
|Cat Food (12 pack)||30.00 ($4.37)||20.00 ($2.92)||10.00 ($1.45)||33.3%|
|Cheese Dip||15.00 ($)2.18||10.00 ($1.45)||5.00 ($.73)||33.3%|
|Crackers||11.95 ($1.74)||6.00 ($.87)||5.95 ($.87)||49.8%|
|Cream Cheese Stuffed Chilis||20.00 ($2.92)||7.00 ($1.02)||13.00 ($1.89)||65%|
|Fresh Ginger (3" piece)||2.00 ($.29)||2.00 ($.29)||0%|
|Frozen Fries (x4)||43.80 ($6.38)||43.80 ($6.38)||0%|
|Granola||11.50 ($1.68)||5.75 ($.84)||5.75 ($.84)||50%|
|Ketchup||11.95 ($1.74)||10.00 ($1.45)||1.95 ($.28)||16.3%|
|Koldskål||13.95 ($2.03)||8.00 ($1.17)||5.95 ($.87)||42.7%|
|Lemon Juice||3.95 ($.58)||3.95 ($.58)||0%|
|Lettuce (Iceberg)||10.00 ($1.45)||10.00 ($1.45)||0%|
|Onions (1 kg)||6.00 ($.87)||6.00 ($.87)||0%|
|Onion Powder||10.00 ($1.45)||10.00 ($1.45)||0%|
|Pasta||4.98 ($.73)||2.98 ($.43)||2.00 ($.29)||40.2%|
|Pineapple (Canned)||8.50 ($1.24)||6.98 ($1.02)||1.52 ($.22)||17.9%|
|Potato Salad (1 kg)||15.95 ($2.33)||10.00 ($1.45)||5.95 ($.87)||37.3%|
|Remoulade (x3)||83.85 ($12.22)||36.00 ($5.25)||47.85 ($6.98)||57.1%|
|Ricotta (x2)||20.00 ($2.92)||10.00 ($1.45)||10.00 ($1.45)||50%|
|Tofu (500 g)||12.00 ($1.75)||12.00 ($1.75)||0%|
|Tonic (.25 liter x 2)||5.90 ($.86)||4.00 ($.58)||1.90 ($.28)||32.2%|
|Tortillas (x2)||19.96 ($2.90)||9.96 ($1.45)||10.00 ($1.45)||50.1%|
|Tortilla Chips||6.25 ($.91)||6.25 ($.91)||0%|
|Vitamin D Tablets (300)||70.00 ($10.20)||11.00 ($1.60)||59.00 ($8.60)||84.3%|
|Regular Price||My Price||Savings||Average % Saved|
|Total:||466.29 ($67.97)||278.05 ($40.53)||221.09 ($32.23)||47.4%|
Yeah… I have a serious french fry and remoulade habit but many ladies my age have a serious wine habit. I’ll stick with my fries and remoulade, with a martini or two on the weekends… or a G&T or elderflower cocktail if the weather ever warms up.
It looks like I eat a lot of baguettes… I use them for “meatball” subs and barbecue tempeh sandwiches.
I didn’t include the 10 kg of protein powder that I ordered from the UK. This cost me $134.00 and will last about six months. Even with shipping, it comes out cheaper to order from the UK than to buy it in Denmark and there’s a much better selection. I’m trying to have a protein shake after every workout because the hard water has taken its toll on my hair. I’m hoping that upping my protein will bring it back to its former glory. I think of this more as part of my beauty budget than my grocery budget.
So there’s a snapshot of my actual April grocery spend in Denmark. As time goes on, you’ll get a better picture of Denmark prices for food and how I manage my pantry.
How do Denmark prices for food compare to prices where you live?
That potato salad though… ::drool::
I know! And I don’t even have to peel the potatoes or convince the Barney Fifes at airport security that it isn’t a liquid or a gel!
And because of Danish airport security, I’ve gone ahead and remembered most of my grandmothers recipe.
You need to come down to NL and do some food shopping. Between our lower (but not low) prices, your savyness and my borderline obsessive use of points and airmiles, we’d make a killing.
This a very interesting article to me… To contrast & compare a bit from here to there.
You’ve done well.
I’ve just gotten back from a trip out to stores and can’t say the same!
Even though “Goodwill” was even on the agenda. So $20 purchased & outgoing donations — all going to charity, and my purchases there were steals.
I realize that comment doesn’t make much sense… Nor does it when I try to say it clearer now: The $20 splurge was the good spend, the rest was… er um… “food stuffs” and a bit out of control even though I tend to buy the least expensive choice on the shelf or thereabouts… And so I don’t want to look back too closely at it or itemizing it. I didn’t buy bread, we often make our own, but your baguettes seem incredibly affordable! As do other regular prices on your list. That surprises me as things there are not as expensive as I imagined them to be… Actually even less expensive than here? How can that be…
Well, I’m an ace bargain shopper and shop at seven different grocery stores to get these prices. I wish I’d kept track of my grocery spending when I first moved here because there was a definite learning curve and it would be interesting to see what I was spending back then. When I first moved here, the stores didn’t mark down items that were going out of date. There’s been an increased focus on reducing food waste over the past year or so, which has really reduced my grocery spending.
There are two stores that I only go to because they have great markdowns. I think that most people are definitely spending more than I am. It also helps that I’m a vegetarian.
We also have a community fridge. It’s not like a food bank, its sole purpose is to reduce food waste, so stores donate their expiring merchandise and people bring stuff from home that’s about to expire and take back what they can use. I want to do a blog post about it, but I’ve had one day off from work in almost three months, so I don’t have time to blog at the moment :(
The “community fridge” concept vs. food bank. That would be certainly interesting to learn about. BUT I understand the not having time! :-) Take care.
This was a super helpful article I wish I read before I visited Denmark! I remember thinking everything was so expensive compared to what I was used to but when you budget right I’m sure it’s ok! Lol
I’ve always wanted to visit Denmark and appreciate how you broke everything up ! Budgeting is key especially when it comes to groceries! Great tips and ideas !
i can see the prices are very similar to Switzerland, which is also a very expensive country. At least we have SOME coupons here, but not much. When I just arrived to this country, everything seemed so expensive and our finances weren’t good, so I did like you, the offers and discount decided the menu. We had our own vegetable garden too, that we shared with other two families, so we saved a lot, though it was also a lot of work. Now that we earn better salaries and we have children, I can decide my menu and indulge a lot more in whatever I fancy and I prefer to save on other things not so much on food.
Elizabeth O says
What a great article. You are definitely a money saver and have had some great results from it. Keep up the good work.
Taslyn Russell says
Its nice seeing other products and the way of life in another country especially coming from the UK. I would love to travel to Denmark.