Food Price Rises: Are Groceries Cheaper In Spain Or UK?

Close up of women with grocery shopping basket

As food inflation in Spain increased by half a per cent in July and fell over two per cent in the UK, we ask: Are Spanish supermarkets still cheaper than their British equivalents?

Inflation rates in the last year have been running rampant globally, but it has been the eye-watering increases to food prices that have regularly hit news headlines across Europe. The UK’s Office for National Statistics have reported that food inflation decreased by over 2 per cent in July; by comparison, Spain’s National Statistics Institute revealed that inflation on food rose by 0.5 per cent in July to 10.83 per cent. What often gets missed in the headlines is that all a decrease in the inflation rate means is that food is still increasing in cost, just not as quickly as previously.

Is Grocery Shopping Cheaper In Spain?

Most expats living in Spain will relay glowing tales of how much cheaper it is to eat out than the European country they hail from; the low average cost of a drink and a tapa is a particular favourite to get family and friends back in the home country bubbling with envy and idly considering making the move themselves.

The received wisdom amongst Northern European expats is that supermarket shopping in Spain is also significantly cheaper, but is that actually true? We created a Euro Weekly News grocery basket and took to the price comparison sites to find out. The results may just shock you.

The EWN Grocery Basket

A smiling woman holding empty grocery basket
The EWN grocery basket. Credit:  kues1 on Freepik

Unsurprisingly, comparing the prices of food across supermarkets and across different countries is a painstaking task. Not all popular supermarkets have price catalogues online in all countries (e.g. Lidl) and differences in produce seasonality, brands, package sizes and temporary discounts all add to the complexity. We created a basket of 22 items commonly bought by expats and used online price checkers on August 20, 2023 to find the cheapest non-discounted version of each item in five of the most popular supermarkets in Spain and the UK:

  • Apples – 1kg
  • Onions – 1kg
  • Potatoes – 1kg
  • Iceberg Lettuce (Whole)
  • Semi-Skimmed Milk – 1L
  • Butter – 250g
  • Cheddar Cheese (Mature) – 300g
  • Dozen Eggs
  • Medium Whole Chicken
  • Mince Beef – 500g
  • Instant Coffee –  200g
  • Whole Oats – 500g
  • Large Sliced Loaf
  • Olive Oil – 1L
  • Tuna in Oil – 360g
  • Mayonnaise – 500g
  • Tomato Ketchup – 500g
  • Long Grain Rice – 1kg
  • Spaghetti (Dried) – 1kg
  • Toilet Rolls – Six Pack
  • Beer (Cans) – Four pack

The Winner

Aldi supermarket store front
Aldi. Credit:

The cheapest EWN Food Basket in both Spain and the UK was courtesy of Aldi, the German discount store, BUT this win has a twist because whilst the Spanish Aldi basket was €53.11 its British counterpart came in nearly 10 Euros cheaper at €43.12 (£36.87) making Aldi UK the cheapest supermarket overall in our price check.

The Full Results

Digging in to the results highlights a few surprises and busts a few myths:

  • The four cheapest food baskets were all from supermarkets in the UK and this is despite the Spanish government dropping VAT on many of the items in our list at the start of 2023 whilst the UK government have taken no measures to halt price hikes
  • The most expensive supermarket basket overall was from French owned Carrefour. France was highlighted by the BBC in June as having the highest food prices out of a comparison study of five European countries and the price of food there is, on average, 11 per cent higher than in other EU countries
  • The difference in price between the cheapest and most expensive food basket was a staggering €23.85
  • The average price of the food basket was €53.67, over €10 more expensive than the cheapest from Aldi UK

The ranking in full:

  1. Aldi – UK     €43.12  (£36.87)
  2. Tesco – UK    €50.02  (£42.76)
  3. Sainsburys – UK    €51.64  (£44.16)
  4. Asda – UK    €52.09  (£44.45)
  5. Aldi – ES    €53.11
  6. Morrisons – UK    €53.63 ( £45.86)
  7. Mercadona – ES    €54.29
  8. Consum – ES    €54.75
  9. Dia – ES    €57.10
  10. Carrefour – ES    €66.97

Is the cost of food in the supermarkets starting to bite for you? We’d love to hear your comments and any tips and tricks you have to keep food costs down.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Do remember to come back and check The Euro Weekly News website for all your up-to-date local and international news stories and remember, you can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Written by

Emma Mitchell

Emma landed in journalism after nearly 30 years as an executive in the Internet industry. She lives in Bédar and her interests include raising one eyebrow, reckless thinking and talking to people randomly. If you have a great human interest story you can contact her on