When we went to the local grocery store for the first time (Cold Storage) we felt as if we spent a similar amount of money compared to our usual St. Louis shopping trips but got about half as much food.  So, I decided to do an actual comparison to see just how much more expensive (or maybe even cheaper!) certain foods are in Singapore.  The US prices were obtained in early January, 2013 in Reasor’s grocery store in Tulsa, OK and the Singapore prices are from August, 2013.  I have used the Aug. 3rd, 2013 exchange rate of 1 SGD = 0.78653 USD.

Note: I have done my best to make the compared items equal by weight by usually converting the Singapore weight to the US equivalent and adjusting the price accordingly.  Not all items are exactly identical, but sometimes the US item is not available in Singapore so I have tried to use the next best fit.

US prices are on the left with Singapore prices on the right.  All prices below the photos are in USD and the percentage is the Singapore price compared to the US price.

IMG_1578 Photo Aug 03, 8 51 12 PM IMG_1599 IMG_2375
$0.56/lb $0.72/lb $1.99/lb $1.70/lb
+29% -15%
IMG_1597 IMG_2377 IMG_1598 IMG_2378
$0.59/lemon $0.63/lemon $4.59/16 oz $17.02/16 oz
+7% +271%
IMG_1595 Photo Aug 03, 8 52 07 PM IMG_1596 Photo Aug 03, 8 51 54 PM
$3.47/pineapple $4.29/pineapple $0.89/pepper $1.61/pepper
+24% +81%
IMG_1600 Photo Aug 03, 8 52 54 PM IMG_1580 Photo Aug 03, 8 58 12 PM
$3.99/5 oz $6.02/5 oz $3.19/20 oz $3.63/20 oz
+51% +14%
IMG_1635 Photo Aug 03, 8 55 51 PM IMG_1637 Photo Aug 03, 8 55 27 PM
$5.55/16 oz $12.55/16 oz $3.29/package $9.36/package
+125% +184%
IMG_1634 Photo Aug 03, 8 56 13 PM IMG_1639 Photo Aug 03, 8 54 23 PM
$2.99/10pk $8.52/10pk $4.88/lb $9.45/lb
+185% +94%
IMG_1640 Photo Aug 03, 8 55 03 PM IMG_1638 IMG_2380
$3.69/lb $7.13/lb $9.28/lb $10.67/lb
+93% +15%
IMG_1621 Photo Aug 03, 9 09 51 PM IMG_1622 IMG_2413
$1.99/16 oz $9.42/16 oz $1.39/8 oz $3.49/8 oz
+373% +151%
IMG_1623 IMG_2403 IMG_1620 IMG_2416
$2.49/box $4.76/box $2.23/24 oz $1.57/24 oz
+91% -30%
IMG_1619 Photo Aug 03, 9 10 44 PM IMG_1610 Photo Aug 03, 9 12 45 PM
$1.67/24 oz $4.09/24 oz $8.99/25.5 oz $16.61/25.5 oz
+145% +85%
IMG_1614 IMG_2404 IMG_1606 Photo Aug 03, 8 59 17 PM
$0.99/14.5oz $1.85/14.5oz $3.39/18 oz $7.24/18 oz
+87% +114%
IMG_1607 IMG_2387 IMG_1625 IMG_2402
$3.19/32 oz $11.64/32 oz $1.55/10.5oz $1.15/10.5oz
+265% -26%
IMG_1611 IMG_2422 IMG_1612 IMG_2401
$2.30/4 lb $2.70/4 lb $0.99/box $2.04/box
+17% +106%
IMG_1592 IMG_2397 IMG_1593 IMG_2395
$1.65/can $4.05/can $1.53/cake $3.85/cake
+145% +152%
IMG_1624 Photo Aug 03, 9 05 50 PM IMG_1601 Photo Aug 03, 9 15 23 PM
$2.83/38 oz $7.32/38 oz $2.69/5 oz $4.96/5 oz
+159% +84%
IMG_1591 Photo Aug 03, 9 02 45 PM IMG_1594 IMG_2415
$2.99/12 oz $7.83/12 oz $4.99/48oz $10.42/48oz
+162% +109%
IMG_1641 IMG_2393 IMG_1643 Photo Aug 03, 9 00 59 PM
$1.44/dozen $2.28/dozen $2.99/lb $5.99/lb
+58% +100%
IMG_1587 Photo Aug 03, 8 56 57 PM IMG_1586 IMG_2383
$2.29/.5 gal $4.42/.5 gal $0.59/6 oz $2.87/6 oz
+93% +386%
IMG_1588 IMG_2379 IMG_1632 IMG_2382
$6.69/24oz $21.34/24oz $2.68/1.75L $5.78/1.75L
+219% +116%
IMG_1642 IMG_2390 IMG_1645 IMG_2389
$2.19/8oz $12.47/8oz $3.79/17.5oz $15.48/17.5oz
+469% +308%
IMG_1646 IMG_2392 IMG_1647 Photo Aug 03, 9 00 11 PM
$2.99/9oz $9.20/9oz $2.79/7 oz $6.85/7 oz
+208% +146%
IMG_1648 IMG_2406 IMG_1651 IMG_2407
$3.89/48oz $12.08/48oz $4.49/pint $11.29/pint
+211% +151%
IMG_1628 IMG_2388 IMG_1589 IMG_2385
$2.00/8.9oz $5.48/8.9oz $2.50/20.5 oz $6.89/20.5 oz
+174% +176%
IMG_1585 IMG_2411 IMG_1582 Photo Aug 03, 9 07 39 PM
$3.00/9oz $4.96/9oz $1.59/6.4 oz $2.63/6.4 oz
+65% +65%
IMG_1581 IMG_2418 IMG_1604 IMG_2419
$1.00/2L $2.04/2L $4.00/12 pack $6.33/12 pack
+104% +58%
IMG_1602 IMG_2399 IMG_1617 Photo Aug 03, 9 04 17 PM
$0.21/500mL $0.26/500mL $0.96/20 oz $1.30/20 oz
+24% +35%
IMG_1618 Photo Aug 03, 9 01 55 PM IMG_1609 Photo Aug 03, 9 01 44 PM
$2.99/15 oz $4.04/15 oz $2.99/13 oz $3.57/13 oz
+35% +19%
IMG_1626 IMG_2417 IMG_1630 IMG_2386
$7.49/10lb $15.71/10lb $2.19/8ct $4.09/8ct
+110% +87%
IMG_1627 IMG_2405 IMG_1615 Photo Aug 03, 9 17 54 PM
$1.64/meal $8.06/meal $2.94/2L $3.19/2L
+391% +9%

 

And for you coffee and beer drinkers out there:

IMG_1631 Photo Aug 03, 9 13 43 PM IMG_1605 Photo Aug 03, 9 16 47 PM
$8.99/34 oz $24.19/34 oz $6.49/6 pack $17.70/6 pack
+169% +173%

 

And on rare occasions (usually about 2-3 times per year), my favorite beverage shows up in Cold Storage, for a hefty premium:

IMG_1603 photo (13)
$4.00/12pk $11.80/12pk
+195%

If you bought one of everything listed above, you would pay $190.45 in the US and $433.78 in Singapore (128% more).

This was eye-opening for me – I always thought I was getting a good deal on my Coco Pebbles, but now I know better!  Dang.  Maybe we’ll start importing those in addition to the Honey Nut Cheerios we bring back every trip (only plain Cheerios can be found in Singapore).

Now, I realize there are many factors contributing to these prices.  First of all, the US prices are from Tulsa, OK so I’m sure this comparison would look different if the US prices were based in New York or San Francisco.  And there are wet markets for produce and meat and other places in Singapore to shop, but Cold Storage is the convenient (across the street) location for us (and a good percentage of Singapore).  Many of these brands are US brands and so it’s expensive to ship to Singapore, especially the items which must remain frozen or refrigerated.  We have eliminated several of these items from our normal diet (crescent rolls, lean cuisines, bacon, hot dogs) and there are occasionally non-US branded equivalents which are cheaper.  But even looking at the basic items (sugar, butter, bread, eggs, milk, beef, chicken) that’s a pretty large price difference.  And some of the US brands have manufacturing in Asia, for example Pepsi is canned in Singapore but still is 58% more expensive.  And there are so many bananas around South East Asia, you would think those would be cheaper but they are 30% more.  Ultimately, there is enough demand (and expats) willing to pay for these goods, so the stores are smart enough to sell them for these prices.  I will keep buying Pepsi and cheese and milk….but I’m thinking a meal of spaghetti noodles, Campbell’s soup and apples is sounding pretty tasty right now.

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