Warsaw - Post Report Question and Answers

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

Groceries are much cheaper than the US. Anything you wanted was available, though if you desire US products you can expect to pay the same as you would in the US. Buying local products was much, much cheaper than the US. They were all very good quality. - Oct 2021

Very cheap! About 1/3 or 1/4 the price of US prices. You save so much and get so spoiled! Groceries were super cheap, we averaged about $60 every 5-6 days for a family of four. Food was good! Less junk than the US and plenty of cleaners, detergent, etc. Can find most things you want and if you didn’t it was easy to send on Amazon, Walmart or target through DPO mail. - Jan 2021

Groceries and household supplies are generally cheaper than in Canada. A sales tax (VAT) of either 8% (for food and food-service) or 23% (for alcohol and most other non-food goods and services) applies; however, diplomats can apply for a quarterly VAT refund. Product availability differs compared to Canada. For some products, Poland has more variety, e.g. for groats ("kasza"), pierogi, sausage (kielbasa), pickled vegetables. For other products, selection is very limited, especially "international" foods. Vegan, lactose-free and gluten-free products are readily available in Warsaw. Large supermarkets ("hipermarkets") have similar product availability as typical Canadian grocery stores. These are generally found in shopping malls ("galeria" or "centrum handlowe") throughout Warsaw. Specialty international foods and ingredients may be found at Kuchnie ?wiata (international food store). It's also possible to order groceries online and have them delivered directly to your home. - Sep 2019

Nearly everything (or equivalent) is available and affordable! :) A FULL cart of groceries never exceeded $150-200 (usually more like $100), including laundry detergent and similarly "expensive" items. Now, I drop $50 just looking at a small, hand-held basket of produce. You can shop at Makro (Costco-like) for bulk deals, too. - May 2018

Everything is available locally with small exceptions. Great mix of local shops and large stores. Ultimately much cheaper and fresher. - Apr 2018

Fantastic farmers markets, lots of organic produce at a fraction of the US cost. However, clothing will cost a lot more here. If you with the US Embassy, you will get the VAT (tax) back but it takes about 6 months. This helps since the VAT is 23%. - Dec 2016

Everything is available, just maybe not where you first expect to find it. Also, fruits and vegetables are much more seasonal than in the States, and the quality in winter is not that great. But with the exception of a few imported items, everything is very affordable. - Mar 2016

Almost everything is available and cheap, and the embassy has a small but well-stocked commissary to meet your snack food cravings. The only thing we can't find is bubble wrap, so bring a roll for mailing pottery home at Christmas time. Polish brand cleaning supplies are sometimes less effective and some people hate the scents, so if you have a particular loyalty, bring your own. - Sep 2015

The grocery stores here are well-stocked and you can find pretty much whatever you need. They also have a growing number of "international food" aisles so you can get whatever you need if you want to make a variety of ethnic dishes. There are huge foreign chains such as TESCO, LeClerc, Carrefour and Auchan. They rival any Walmart super store in the US (for what that's worth), and they also have a lot of smaller Polish and European chains as well. They offer everything from food to household supplies to electronics and clothing. Used to be that peanut butter was hard to find but they have that as well now. No problem getting fresh fruits and vegetables either. The cost of groceries is much less overall than in the U.S., which goes along with just about everything else in terms of prices when it comes to food. I'm always amazed at how little my cart full of groceries costs me, and then shocked when I see the total price for that same cart of food back in Maryland. In terms of household supplies, they have every kind of cleaning supply and toiletry/personal care item you could possibly think of. Razor blades are as expensive here as they are in the U.S., for example, but everything else is pretty much less expensive. - Nov 2014

Groceries are much less than the US and you can get many of the same KINDS of things. Not same brands. New products are always appearing. Oreos & Peanut Butter has even appeared on the shelves since we've arrived. We like to use the local farmers market style sellers for produce. It's fresher and even cheaper. - Feb 2012

Comparable to price and selection in the US. Vegetable selection gets a bit thinner in the winter and you'll have to pay a bit of a premium for fresh fruit and veggies. E.Leclerc, Tesco, Carrefour, Auchan are all available. - Nov 2011

About the same as US. - Aug 2011

Depends on what you are buying. The major grocery stores (Carrefour, etc.) tend to have most items, but you will note that selections can be stale or rotten, especially in the produce sections. There are a lot of folks that utilize the local markets, and you may even find that some of the produce is cheaper and fresher than in the big stores. Beware of buying produce from shapkas (they are like tiny 7-11 stores) - they usually carry a stand with some potatoes, onions, etc. Usually you buy them in bags, and you can get nice surprise when you get home and open the bag to find half your potatoes are rotten). They will keep selling these without ever actually checking them. - Aug 2011

Groceries are plentiful and at all price ranges. Household supplies are available and cheap ones are available at IKEA (2 in Warsaw). - Mar 2011

The groceries tend to be cheaper than in the USA or any other European country. - Jan 2011

Pretty much eveything is available through international chains like Carrefour and Tesco. Costs are slightly more than I'm used to at home in Australia. - Dec 2010

You can get most anything on the local market. If you're attached to certain US brands, you can probably find them at the Embassy commissary. - Feb 2010

Whatever you want, you can find it here. While we normally go to the several hypermarts (Carrefor, Alma, Real, etc.) we also tend to go to the small skleps near our house where the quality of meats and cheeses is way better and the prices are much less. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are sold all over town and are very affordable as well. Prices are about the same as in the states. We do have a commissary which stocks imported American food ranging from steaks to Wonder Bread to Big Red. But honestly, why do all of your shopping there when you can find the exact same stuff in Warsaw? - Aug 2009

Household supplies like cleaner and detergent are a lot more expensive so you have to remember to wait in line and get your VAT back. Groceries are comparable to the U.S., especially if you shop at markets for fresh produce or at Tesco. - Jun 2008

Everything you would want (with the exception of Ginger Ale and root beer which is in the commisary) can be found here in any of the major or minor supermarkets in Warsaw/Poland. Poland has great produce, meats, cheeses, and so forth, perhaps some of the best in Europe. Embassy staff has access to the commisary but I cannot understand how people would want to shop there when the same things are available on the local market (and of better quality). Things have gotten more expensive however given the falling dollar. - Apr 2008

Local shops are everywhere but it is a pain to get a faktura vat. Also the meats and cheeses are behind a counter so you need to ask for what you want in Polish. There are some bigger stores :Real, Carrefore, and Piotre i Pawel (gourmet) for shopping in large quantities with less hassle. Lines are usually long everywhere. - Feb 2008

Subscribe to our newsletter

New book from Talesmag! Honest and courageous stories of life abroad with special needs.

Read More