Brussels - Post Report Question and Answers

How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Costs for groceries seem to be more than in the United States. - Apr 2024

Availability and cost about the same. - Feb 2023

Once you figure things out, you can find anything. We ended up being fans of Colruyt, though probably did most of our shopping at Carrefour. - Jan 2022

Grocery cost is comparable and availability is good, but not great. Things are definitely more seasonal (although this usually means fresher) and there are some items that are difficult or impossible to find. I found that people were unwilling to go beyond their neighborhood store, and so would claim that some item or another was not available. This was definitely not true. I found almost every ingredient I ever needed by doing a little Googling and driving to a further store. Rob's Gourmet market has tons of international foods, Fresh Med has lots of produce, and Albert Heijn always has jalapenos. It's the only place we ever found them. If you are willing to put in a little work, you can find what you need. - Oct 2021

Very easy and simple. Grocery stores are on every block. - Apr 2021

Excellent! You can get just about everything. Mission personnel have access to the base where you can buy the typical US brands you would in the States. - Sep 2020

You can find almost anything here, if not at the local grocery stores, usually at one of the gourmet food shops, or if you have access, the Commissary at Chievres AFB. There are several major grocery stores, with variations in price and product selection. Cost is typically slightly more than US. - Sep 2020

You can find anything here, and if there is something special you need, you can order it online. The cost is similar to that in the U.S. Many people shop at the U.S. Army commissary in Chievres, about an hour away. We have been a couple times but I don't find that the drive is worth it. Groceries are cheaper there but my time on the weekend is limited and I don't want to spend it in a US-style supermarket that has loads of unhealthy and processed foods. There is also a gourmet grocery store with a lot of specialty items (Rob the Gourmet Market). It is expensive but not a place to do your everyday shopping. There are two main grocery store chains with branches everywhere: Carrefour and Delhaize. There are also the German low-cost chains like Aldi and Lidl. Belgian stores like Cora and Colruyt offer more of a discount experience. We buy all of our household items like toilet paper and cleaning supplies at the supermarket. - Mar 2020

Almost everything can be found here if you know where to look. We have access to the military base an hour away where you can pretty much get anything you may be longing for from home. Be prepared to pay a fortune for groceries here though as nothing seems cheap. A bag of groceries that may cost you $50 in the US will easily cost minimum $100 here. - Feb 2019

Groceries tend to be a little more expensive than in the Washington, DC, area, but some things are cheaper. If you are on the Diplomatic list, you get a gas card which eliminates the tax surcharge, and gas will be a lot less expensive. - Feb 2019

While arguably comparable to D.C. prices, in general, groceries are much more expensive than many other parts of the world (including other parts of Europe), but you can pretty much get anything you want. There is also the commissary at Chièvres AFB, which is notably cheaper than the local economy, and only 45 minutes away. Do be ready for nearly everything to be closed on Sundays, and by 7-8pm other days. If you work late, Saturday shopping might be your only option! - May 2018

A lot of people complain that groceries are expensive here. If you don't have a car and shop at the neighborhood shops and markets in Ixelles/Elsene or the Woluwes, groceries can be painfully expensive (and don't get me started on the prices at Rob). If you shop at the hypermarkets (Hyper Carrefour, Cora) or discounters (Colruyt, Aldi, Lidl), groceries aren't that much more expensive than in the DC area. Same goes for the street markets--a kilo of the exact same olives costs over twice as much at the Stokkel market (an expensive area) as at the market in Anderlecht (a working-class area with a large North African population).

The one thing that's consistently more expensive is meat, especially beef, but you can buy American beef at American prices at Chièvres.

Availability is generally pretty good--you can get 98% of the same sorts of things here. Brussels has a couple large Asian grocery stores, and if you really get in a bind you can shop at the commissary at Chièvres. - Jan 2018

You can pretty much find anything you need with few exceptions. For example, it is very difficult to find American style peanut butter or things like hot dogs. You can always make periodic trips to the military commissary if you are in need of those items. Otherwise the grocery stores have good selections of meats, cheeses, produce and wonderful french wine. Cost depends on where you shop. Rob the Gourmet is higher end and comparable to Whole Foods. Fresh Med is a gem for produce and is very low cost. - Feb 2017

There are 2 grocery stores, 3 bakeries and numerous restaurants within walking distance. We find the cost of groceries on the local economy to be reasonable.There's nothing we need to buy at the U.S. base and have only been there once when our sponsor took us. You can find fresh fruits, vegetables, cheeses, specialty meats and fish from the local farmer's market which is held two days per week. - Dec 2016

You can find anything you want if you are not particular about a specific brand. Meat is quite expensive but seasonal fruits and vegetables are fresh, plentiful, and reasonably priced. I do most of my shopping at the commissary (an hour away) and supplement my fresh foods on the economy. Great yogurt, cheese, chocolate etc. - Aug 2014

Just about everything you could possibly want can be found here between the well-stocked local supermarkets and specialty stores and the commissary at the base. Prices on the local economy can be pretty pricey, so try to keep an eye on the sale ads and buy when things are on sale. I stock up on meat, canned goods, sodas and baking supplies at the base. Veggies, fruit, milk and eggs I buy on the local economy. - Jul 2014

For a family of 4, we easily spend 120-150 Euros per week on groceries. - Apr 2014

Costs are high as in other Western European cities. U.S. government employees can access a commissary at an airbase one hour south of Brussels. It's just like shopping at a U.S. grocery store with dollar prices equivalent to those you'd find in the U.S. suburbs. This is a great savings for those with families. - Jan 2014

Groceries and household supplies are expensive. American diplomats can use Chievres Air Base Commissary though to offset that somewhat. - Jan 2014

Expensive. I shopped exclusively at the US Base, otherwise it would have been a very expensive tour for a first-tour employee. Bakeries abound and are very good. Stores are closed on Sundays. - Oct 2012

Everything available, cost is normal. - May 2012

We buy all of our fresh fruits and vegetables at the local market (there is one in a different section of the city every day of the week).It's a bit more expensive than the U.S., but the quality is also higher. For meats, household items, etc., we have access to Chievres Commissary which is 45 minutes away. It's just like any large supermarket in middle America with prices that are much cheaper than the local supermarkets or even the east and west coasts of America. It really allows you to stretch your money. - Jan 2012

Extensive. Belgians like quality and will pay for it. Expect to shell out 20-30% more than back home but you'll get quality - Nov 2011

Many people shop regularly at the commissary in Chievres, which is about 45 minutes from Brussels. But you can also find anything and everything on the local market. Prices in the grocery stores and some of the local markets are higher than the US, but if you look around you can find good deals in some of the outdoor markets and less expensive stores. - Aug 2011

If you shop at the local markets you can save a bundle on produce. Supermarket chains here are Delhaize and GB/Carefour. Delhaize in belgian and can be higher end. GB/Carefour is French is and is more mid range. Meat can be expensive. If you are with the US embassy you have access to Chievre air base about 45 minutes away with a full commissary and PX which can save you money, but limits your local exposure. The markets are fun to shop at, especially Gare Midi or Watermael-Boisfort on Sunday, Stokkel or Flagey on Saturday. And Place Chatelain on Wednesday night. Every day there is a market somewhere in the city ... except Thursday I think. Which is when everyone seems to go to Place Luxembourg and Par-Tay!!! - Jul 2011

Everything is available - but expensive, comparing with UK/FRance/Germany. - Jun 2011

Groceries are more expensive, but it's easier to buy small quantities here. Many people (especially with families) shop at the Chievres commissary every weekend (which is an hour outside Brussels) as it has US brands and US prices. - Jun 2011

I spend about EUR 80 a week for groceries and supplies. - Jun 2010

Everything is available, though a bit more expensive than in the U.S. - Jun 2010

Cost depends on where you shop - there are great markets, also some discount groceries. And of course, other great groceries that are more expensive. - Mar 2010

It is very expensive here but you can get everything. - Jul 2009

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