Doing groceries in times of Corona

Hello everyone! In this blog post I would have loved to show you around at the different supermarkets in Austria. Unfortunately, because of the current crisis, I went back home to Belgium. That is why I cannot really show you a lot about the different options there are in Austria to do your groceries. So instead I will still give you an idea of which supermarkets there are out there and look at the price-quality of each of them. Next, I will also speak about the comparison with Belgian supermarkets and what you have to bear in mind when doing your groceries in Austria as a foreign student. Finally, I will also give you an insight of how I have experienced the corona crisis both in Austria and Belgium. Happy reading!

First off, let’s start with some of the major supermarket chains that are available in Austria. There are these typical big discount chains you can find anywhere in Europe, but also some more local supermarkets that mostly offer local produce. Me personally, I only go to the bigger discount stores when I have to do my monthly grocery shopping and need a lot of different things, mainly because they mostly have everything you need, and they are reasonably cheap. Next to the big monthly grocery shopping, I prefer to go to the smaller shops as they always offer something different and have often fresher vegetables, fruit and meat. Below is a list with the supermarkets I went to with some general info and tips.

HOFER : innsbruck.info
  • Discount supermarket
  • Very similar to Aldi in other countries
  • Sometimes not that many types of fresh fruit and vegetables available
  • Good offers for quality wine 😉
  • More private label products
  • One of the cheapest supermarkets
M-Preis - supermarket
  • Smaller supermarket
  • Focus on local products
  • Nice bakery inside
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Slightly more expensive
  • Sometimes confusing price labels
Billa (supermarktketen) - Wikipedia
  • Regular supermarket
  • Very good quality vegetables and fresh fruit
  • In- store Metzgerei (butcher’s shop)
  • Slightly more expensive
  • Free Jö Bonus Club Card (discount card)
Bestand:Logo Merkur.svg - Wikipedia
  • Big hypermarket
  • Very big range of products
  • Best place to find international products
  • Top quality
  • Free Jö Bonus Club Card
  • Expensive

These are only 4 examples of supermarkets in Austria and there are a many more options, but I chose these as they were my personal favourites to switch between. In comparison to other countries in Europe, the products in the Austrian supermarkets are relatively more expensive. (definitely when it comes to fresh fruit, vegetables and meat) When for example comparing it to Belgium’s supermarkets (which are already more expensive than in the neighbouring countries NL, DE and FR), Austrian supermarkets are still slighlty more expensive.

TIP: I try to switch as much as possible between supermarkets, as you then get to try different products once in a while and you can compare prices!

One of the big supermarkets in Belgium right before the lockdown after a day of stockpiling

As you could have guessed from the video above, now I want to address how going to the supermarket during this crisis looks like. I will tell first how I experienced the beginning of the crisis in Austria. I left Austria right before some countries in Europe went into a lockdown but even then i could already see that people in Austria started rushing to the supermarkets. I could see people with full shopping carts, mostly buying rice, pasta, flour and toilet paper. At the time, I was quite confused about what was happening as I had never experienced such behaviour before. In the meanwhile, I was receiving videos and pictures from back home from my family and friends of the situation in the supermarkets there and realised there was something terribly wrong. I tried to pack most of my essential stuff and drove home to Belgium. Only three days after I arrived home, they closed the borders which I crossed so freely a couple of days before.

Now, the situation is getting better and we are getting back to a new kind of “normal” again. For this part I can only tell how I experienced going to the supermarket in lockdown in Belgium, as I haven’t been able to return to Austria yet.

Queue to get inside the supermarket in my hometown during the lockdown

To start, only a certain amount of people is allowed into the supermarkets and have to finish in 30 minutes. That is why there are now often big queues in front of the supermarkets as we are only allowed to enter when someone else has left the building. It is not compulsory to wear face masks, but it is strongly advised and you have to keep a distance of at least 1,5 metre from other shoppers, which is mostly possible at all times. I must say that the supermarkt employees are overall managing the flow of people very well and also guarantee our safety by desinfecting the shops and the shopping carts after each use. Also the other shoppers are quite respectful to one another and respect the rules to protect others and themselves. The situation as seen in the video has luckily long passed and mostly all the products are available again at any time!

Thank you for reading this post! Hope you found it interesting and also got some valuable tips to do your grocery shopping in Austria. I would like to end with this thought: We only realise we take things for granted, once we don’t have access to them anymore.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *