One of the best things about being abroad is to discover the local supermarket. In the supermarkets in Sweden you find products and brands that you don’t have at home. When I am in Sweden, I go to the supermarket just before I have to return home, to pick up some of my favorite products. For example, the vegetarian food and ‘korv’ that you don’t have in Belgium, KEX and certain things for baking.
In Malmö and Stockholm, the ICA has no more secrets for me. I know my way just like the supermarket in my hometown. ICA is not the only Swedish supermarket.
ICA (in full: Inköpscentralernas aktiebolag) is the best-known supermarket chain. About 1350 ICAs are scattered throughout Sweden. ICA Nära (nära = close) is the smallest ICA. Then there is ICA Supermarket, ICA Kvantum and the largest MAXI ICA Stormarknad where you can find everything, even electrical appliances and tools.
Coop is trying to be a ‘green’ alternative. The prices are slightly higher. They focus on ecological and healthy products. As with ICA, there are different sizes of COOP supermarkets: Coop Konsum, Coop Forum, Coop Nära, Coop Extra, Coop Online, Coop daglivs and Coop Bygg.
Hemköp has a wide range of products and the prices are average. It is one of the more popular supermarkets.
You can also find Lidl in Sweden. The concept is the same as in Belgium.
Willys is the price breaker of the Swedish supermarkets. They sell A-brands at the best price. They are usually located a bit more outside of the center.
This originally Danish supermarket chain has branches in Sweden, UK, Poland and Germany. The chain also goes for low prices.
The 7-eleven shops are perhaps the outsider in this list. They are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., hence the name. You can find them everywhere. Their range is rather limited and is reminiscent of the offer in the better tank stations. Pressbyrån is the Swedish version of 7-eleven. Both sell hotdogs and newspapers, among others.
Tips for grocery shopping in a Swedish supermarket
- Put the products on the belt, with the barcode to the cashier.
- Healthier products have been given a special logo in Sweden. Since 1989 they put a green keyhole on the packaging.
- Bring a reusable bag to the store.
- Go to the ‘pant maskin’ to bring your empties back, before you go grocery shopping. You can either donate the amount or use it to partly pay for your new purchases.
Which supermarkets are missing in my list?