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Food Shopping in New Zealand

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Everyone’s got to eat.

When backpacking in New Zealand, it’s cheaper to cook food in your hostel or flat than to indulge in eating in restaurants or getting takeaways. In order to take the drastic measure of cooking for yourself, first you must go food shopping! This article shows the common places to buy food in New Zealand and some tips on how to save the cents.

If you need inspiration on what to buy, see our: Backpacker’s Food Shopping List.

New Zealand’s Supermarket Chains.

  • New World
  • Countdown
  • PAKn’SAVE
  • Four Square
  • Fresh Choice
Base Hostels

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Supermarkets

It’s a bit of a no-brainer that supermarkets are the way to go for your larger grocery shops. Not only do they sell all kinds of edible goods, they have variety. This is ideal for a tight backpacker budget where you can choose cheap brands such as Pams, Budget and Woolworths. Buying food loose, for example fruit and vegetables, baked goods, and meat from the meat counter is usually cheaper than buying pre-packaged goods.

We recommend the huge warehouse store PAK’nSAVE for cheap and cheerful food. When PAK’nSAVE fails to be present, Countdown and New World have regular special offers. If you know you will be using a particular chain often, consider getting a loyalty card for in-store discounts and to collect points for discounts.

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Convenience Stores

Convenient stores, or the local ‘dairy’ as a New Zealander would say, are indeed more convenient but more expensive than supermarkets for food shopping. A chain convenience store in NZ is Night n’ Day, which is notably enticing with its selection of cakes. However, Night ‘n Day tend to do monthly offers on certain takeaway meals every Tuesday, such as NZ$1 lasagne in July. How’s that for a backpacker budget?

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Farmers marketes

Supporting local business, tasting fresh food, and getting involved in a kiwi community is why farmers markets have flourished in NZ. Many townships host markets every Saturday or Sunday. By cutting out the middleman, shopping for fruit and vegetables at markets is cheaper than buying at a supermarket. Some markets go all out with live music so can be entertaining too!

Extra Facts About Grocery Shopping in New Zealand

  • Although you can buy beer and wine in supermarkets, you can only buy spirits in liquor stores.
  • Some of the bigger towns and cities have Asian, Indian and European supermarkets, such as Kosco.
  • Alternatively, you can buy Indian, Asian and European food online and have it delivered.
  • Countdown offers online shopping, however there is a hefty delivery charge.
  • New World offers grocery delivery in Wellington.
  • Finally, and most importantly, the cartoon man on the Four Square logo is called Charlie.
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