Home Expat Essentials City Savvy Guide: Supermarkets

City Savvy Guide: Supermarkets

by City Savvy Luxembourg

You’re here! You made it! You’re jet-lagged! And your cupboards are empty. Cue: reality. It can be harrowing to face the basic task of finding something to eat in a foreign country. Let us break down the common grocery shopping experience to get you on your way to culinary bliss.

 

Good to know before you go:

  • BYOB
    Bring Your Own Bags. You can bring any you’ve used before but the standard, large, bags you’ll soon see everywhere are sturdy although it is key you remember to stuff them back in your car after unloading.
  • Get Cart Smart
    Most grocery stores here require a 50 cent, one or two euro coin to get a cart. Don’t worry, you’ll get it back when you return it. This is the reason why parking lots aren’t littered with orphaned carts. If you forgot one, there are usually baskets with or without wheels and free carts to which you can add baskets. Or take the challenge of how many items you can carry in one armload and amuse other customers.
  • Bag it
    You’ll have plenty of chances to perfect your grocery packing Jenga skills in those bags you brought because most stores require you to bag your own groceries. This is when the stand-alone 70 cent bags become your best friends; you can pack it all in there using one arm while you deal with unruly children with the other arm.
  • Discount Delight
    Just like every store in the States, each grocery store has its own reward system. I’m not privy to all the details but once you find your favorite stores, you’ll figure it out. You can go to the info desk or ask the checker for help in getting a store card. You’ll have to do a little paperwork and they’ll either give you a card right away or they’ll send you one in the mail.
  • Translate It
    If you have a smart phone with a translating app, bring it. I use my Google Translate app almost every time I shop. Labels here often include both French and German.
  • Fresh Pain
    What’s that? Pain? That’s French for bread. The bread here is so good it’s painful and it’s one of my favorite parts of grocery shopping in Luxembourg. There are many prepackaged options (the crust-free bag gets some major love at our house when it comes to cucumber sandwiches) but sending a fresh artisan loaf through the bread slicing machine is completely exhilarating. You can stalk a fellow shopper to see how it’s done or just ask anyone standing around to help you. Don’t be scared: deliciousness awaits you!
  • Weigh It Up
    Most stores here require you to weigh and label your produce before you get to the checkout stand. You’ll either see a counter with someone standing behind several scales or a scale with a label machine next to it, which means you’ll have to do it yourself. Be friendly, take turns, and be patient … it’s basically Kindergarten 101. Don’t worry, you’ve got this.

 

DISCOUNT SUPERMARKETS

Aldi

Started in Germany by two brothers, Karl and Theo Albrecht, the name Aldi came from the words “Albrecht Diskount.” Don’t expect anything fancy here; it’s bare bones shopping at its finest. It contains canned and prepackaged goods, has a significant refrigerator and freezer section, it’s great for household items that don’t really expire, and there is some fresh produce.

Find a store near you by clicking here.

LIDL

Lidl is a direct competitor to Aldi and its headquarters is also based in Germany. The look and layout of the stores is almost identical: rows and rows of stacked pallets that make it easy to grab a case of something and go. Again, the no frills approach means more saving for you.

Find a store near you by clicking here.

N.B. While Aldi and Lidl have a small presence (and small store sizes) in Luxembourg, you can see them in their element (bigger stores, lower prices) just over the border in Perl, Germany. Plus, the Lidl in Perl carries American style peanut butter for cheap. That’s reason enough to get me there.

Weighing produce in Luxembourg AKA Do It Yourself.

Weighing produce in Luxembourg AKA Do It Yourself. Photo: Maria Molinero/Unsplash

SUPERSTORES / HYPERMARKETS

Auchan

This is the name of the mall but it’s also the name of the superstore inside the mall. It’s confusing at first; just know when people say “Auchan” they could mean one or the other or both. Got it? Auchan the shopping mall is huge and beautiful and filled with all the things. Auchan the grocery store is kind of like that, too. It could be compared to a Walmart; it’s enormous, the prices are reasonable and it’s a one-stop super-shop. It contains clothing, home goods, appliances and electronics, fresh and packaged food, a deli, a bakery… I could go on. It’s on two levels and the grocery cart wheels magnetize on the escalator ramp. It’s an experience! Auchan hails from France and there is one location in Luxembourg with another opening up in Differdange in 2017.

Top Tip: If Auchan is not convenient for you, you can order groceries online and pick them up at AuchanDrive locations. You can read more about it here.

Address: 5 rue Alphonse Weicker, L-2721 Luxembourg-Kirchberg
Hours: Monday – Thursday and Saturday 8 am – 8 pm, Friday 8 am – 9 pm, closed Sunday
Website

Cora

This is another super-store with one location inside the City Concorde mall. My friend goes here for everything and you can find pretty much all you need here. It’s France based and has two locations in Luxembourg.

Address: 80 Rue de Longwy, 8060 Bertrange
Phone: 45 02 24
Hours: Monday – Thursday and Saturday 8 am – 8 pm, Friday 8 am – 9 pm, Saturday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm

Address: 11 Rue du Brill, 3898 Foetz
Phone: 26 17 01
Hours: Monday – Thursday 8:30 am – 8 pm, Friday 8:30 am – 9 pm, Saturday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm, Sunday 8 am – 1 pm
Website

Cactus

Cactus was started in Luxembourg and is one of the country’s leading family-run businesses. It reminded me of Target when I went to the location at the Belle Etoile mall. These stores can be found at several locations around the country in a variety of store sizes and offerings.

Find a store near you here

 

WAREHOUSE STORES

La Provencale

This is probably as close to Costco as you’ll get in Luxembourg, but it’s not really Costco at all. It’s a restaurant supply store where you can buy things in bulk. I went with a friend who had a membership card (50 euros per year) and found some American style brown sugar and powdered sugar plus a nice large can of cooking spray. I think this store would be a good option if you have a big family and an extra freezer. Also, if you want a large order of meat, say, a Thanksgiving turkey, for example, this is a good place to do it as the charcuterie (deli) is vast. Also, the freezer section is pretty exciting. Like I said, large families with freezers bigger than mine: you might want to check it out. It’s Luxembourg based with locations in Germany, Belgium and France.

Address: Zone Industrielle Grasbusch, L-3370 Leudelange
Phone: 49 891
Hours: Monday – Friday 5 am to 11:30 am and 2 pm to 5 pm and Saturday 5 am to 11:30 am
Website

Colruyt

This store could go under the “discount” heading, but the feel to me is much more warehouse. It’s basically mini-warehouse shopping. It’s not a huge store, but people often go there to buy in bulk. You can often save money by buying in bulk, but if you don’t need six cans of peaches, you have the option to break open the plastic and take what you need. Bring your coat, as the refrigerator section is …. in the refrigerator. And don’t even think you can face life outside of Europe again after buying the 5.5 lb bag of Callebaut Belgian chocolate chips. How did I live before this? Plus: two bonuses here that’ll have you thinking wistfully of the States: they weigh your produce at checkout and bag your groceries. Sigh. It’s a beautiful thing. Colruyt is a Belgium based, family owned retail group and there are several locations in Luxembourg.

Find a store near you by clicking here.

 

OTHER NEIGHBORHOOD GROCERS

Delhaize

The first grocery store I ever entered in Luxembourg was the tiny Delhaize in the Gare. I gasped: cooked, peeled, pre-packaged beets? I am slightly obsessed with beets (yes, beets), and to think that someone had taken about 1-2 hours of work off my hands in the preparation of this wonder vegetable?! I was touched. (Come to find out you can get these in the states in several stores. Cue: face palm.) But that was my first exciting encounter with a European grocery store and I was sold. There are lots of Delhaize locations and it’s a great place if you enjoy the finer things in life. That said, the prices reflect that. It does have a USA/UK section, and I had to laugh at the neon yellow French’s mustard and the overpriced Skippy’s peanut butter and Hershey’s chocolate chips. But, hey, it’s good to know where to go if you’ve got a hankering. It’s Belgium based and has several Luxembourg locations.

Find a store near you by clicking here

Match/Smatch

Some of these stores are called Match and some are called Smatch. The Match stores are bigger, neighborhood grocery stores and are like a smaller, slightly discounted version of Cora, as they carry the Cora brand name. They offer a good, basic grocery store experience. The Smatch stores are even smaller and they feel more like a convenience store at a gas station. You can still get quite a bit there, but it seems like the place you’d pop into for a couple items that you forgot to put on your list.

Find a store near you by clicking here.

 

 

Photo: Brooke Cagle/Unsplash

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