Thursday, April 28, 2005


Last week when we were in Metro, doing our usual weekly grocery shopping, another British couple mentioned that they had found a much cheaper supermarket out near Aradippou. That's two or three miles away, but the prices they mentioned sounded excellent. They said that if we spent typically about £80 on food, we would probably save at least £10, maybe twice that much, if we went to the other place. They told us how to find it, and we decided to visit it.

Tomorrow is Good Friday in the Eastern (Orthodox) calendar, so it's a public holiday and we thought probably the supermarkets would be closed. So we went today, and drove out to this new place, which is called Elomas. It's a cash & carry style supermarket with things just in boxes rather than neatly arranged on shelves. That's fine: it's rather what we thought. A bit like Kwik-Save in the UK, which we used regularly. As we went in we saw a wide variety of fruit juices, for 50c per litre (we usually pay 86c per litre) - so we picked up several!

However, we became gradually less impressed as we went around. Yes, the prices were excellent - but the choice was limited, even more so than Kwik-Save. There seemed to be a vast number of Nestlé products, which we don't buy [the babymilk action site explains why, just in case anyone wonders]. There wasn't anything whole-grain or organic, no fruity teas, no nuts - at least, not that we could find. The refrigerated section was small with only a few types of cheese ready-wrapped - no delicatessan at all - and the freezer section was even smaller, with a few types of frozen vegetables and other convenience foods. There didn't seem to be any fresh meat at all.

Still, we picked up some inexpensive toothpaste, baked beans, and evaporated milk (when we found a brand that wasn't Nestlé after some searching!) and one or two other bits and pieces. The prices were certainly very good.

There was a large fresh fruit and vegetable section which looked good, although the prices were no better than Metro's. So we bought a couple of bags of oranges, and a couple of punnets of strawberries.

In all we spent about £15, and I suppose if we had bought the same at Metro it would have cost nearer £20. But we still need to go to Metro for all the things we couldn't buy. On the way out we decided it might be worth coming back if we have a party: prices on juice and other drinks were excellent, and there were bulk buys available on crisps and other party-type food. But for ordinary weekly shopping it doesn't seem worthwhile driving this far out just for a few items, when we would still have to go to Metro anyway.

We were less impressed still when we opened up one of the punnets of strawberries, and found that several of them had gone bad. Not just a bit squashy, but actually black with mould. Yuck. I suppose about a quarter of them were affected and had to be thrown away - which makes them considerably less good value! We've never had that problem in any of our Metro strawberry purchases. Perhaps the problem is that Elomas doesn't appear to have any air-conditioning. I should think it will be unbearably hot in the summer.

1 comment:

Lora said...

I've been through similar trials looking for good prices for the products that I buy. These places save money by offering a smaller number of products. But I find it really isn’t worth it. They only stock the most commonly used products and generally these discount stores have the worst quality produce. Now I try to only shop at the grocery store that's near my home. It offers reasonable prices and services; and it has most of what I need. My time is no longer wasted looking for better prices or needed ingredients. Since it's a fairly low fuss kind of place there's a limit to how much damage I can do to my food budget on novelty and luxury items.