The Cost of Food Shopping in Cuenca

You will save money when you grocery shop in Ecuador. Prices for local products are often substantially below those in North America. This is a result of the lower cost of living in Ecuador. The average monthly salary in Cuenca is $753.00 a month, with many earning $450.00 a month. Some items are subsidized by the government; others are  priced lower in order to accommodate the low average salary.

Alicia Erickson has researched food costs in six major Cuenca stores  in April 2022 (https://yapatree.com/cuenca-grocery-shopping-options-compare-lower-cost-of-living/). Her figures below are based on one pound, except where noted.

Proteins                               

Chicken     $1.25
Beef             $2.80
Pork            $2.00
Fish             $1.25
Shrimp      $3.00

Produce   

Onions        $0.40
Tomatoes  $0.40
Apples         $0.73
Potatoes     $0.30
Pineapple  $1.00 (1)

Staples                                             

Sugar          $0.45
Spaghetti $1.00
Flour           $0.47
Rice             $0.50
Beans         $0.80
Quinoa       $1.50

Miscellaneous

Box Wine    $5.00
Eggs (30)   $3.50
Milk (1L)    $0.70
W. Bread    $1.00 (loaf)
Honey         $1.00 (small jar)

Comparisons with the Mercados

Local Tiendas                28% higher
SuperMaxi                      61% higher
Other large stores       29%-55% higher

Last week at my Mercado, I bought a head of lettuce and a cauliflower, 3 green peppers, 3 white onions, 2 cucumbers, 1 humongous zucchini, 2 carrots for a total of $3.50!

Clearly, shopping in the mercados is the most cost-effective way to obtain groceries. Hence, their popularity. 

Fact: Unrefrigerated milk is sold in cartons on the shelf
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Author: Warren R. Johnson

I am a US citizen living in Cuenca, Ecuador. I have retired from two long-lasting careers: an ordained minister with an exclusive ministry in sacred music (organist-choirmaster), and a book dealer (2 stores and Internet selling). Another shorter career was as a data manager in medical research. Today, I am pursuing a writing career.

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