Nairobi - Post Report Question and Answers

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

answer - Mar 2024

Groceries can really be quite expensive, which can be a bit of a surprise when you first arrive. I felt it was fairly equivalent to groceries in DC during inflation. On the other hand, the value of the Kenyan shilling has depleted significantly, so your money goes a bit farther here. Most things are available here, and the commissary does a good job filling in the gaps. The few things I do miss are good cheese (frozen commissary cheese is not the same, and local cheese is not great), decent lunch meat, and fountain sodas. Everyone has their things they miss, but overall it's a pretty easy place for groceries. - Mar 2024

You can get nearly everything locally, and the Embassy commissary has a good selection of other items. I didn’t have to ship much food or supplies from the US, except for specific sensitive skin laundry detergent and things like bread flour. - Aug 2023

Most everything is available and if not, just an Amazon/Walmart order away. There are many options (carrefour, naivas to name a few) of western style grocery stores or some csa options. - Mar 2022

You can get produce for cheap at the local markets...if you can send your house help to get it. Otherwise, you will be charged the "mzungu" price. We paid a lot for food, but that was also to ensure quality. Household supplies were expensive, and I say this as someone from Manhattan. - Aug 2021

Local produce is cheap, plentiful, varied, and delicious. There are avocados year-round. During my time in Nairobi some Kenyan farms started producing blueberries and my life was complete. :) Basics like rice, sugar, beans, etc are often local and cheap. Imported food can be very expensive. But more and more is produced in the local economy. While I lived there 3 different producers started producing IPAs and other good beers, where before there was only lager. I don't really understand the posts about how expensive food is in Nairobi. I just moved to West Africa, and it is a whole different world out here. Everything is imported from Europe, and I routinely spend 3 or 4 times as much on groceries here as I did in Nairobi. - Apr 2021

Hit or miss. There are lots of things you can't find or you'll only find occasionally. Prices are shockingly expensive. - Nov 2020

We tend to find most items locally, with few "specialty" items that we get via diplomatic pouch. There is a Carrefour hypermarket nearby which is great. - Dec 2018

Between shopping at Village Market, Two Rivers and, we've been just fine. The quality of items here are, for the most part, are pretty good. Grocery costs are mixed. Meats are lower quality than the States, but cost significantly more. Same with cheese, which can be shockingly expensive, but produce is really high quality, always available and super cheap. - Dec 2018

With the new addition of Carrefour, you can find pretty similar supplies and prices as one might find at Target. However, the issue is usually the quality of the supplies. Most items we have purchased here have already broken. - Jun 2018

There is much variance in pricing. Shopping at the supermarkets is on par with American and European pricing. If you do things the old fashioned way, utilizing butcher shops and green grocers, your food budget goes further. I've also found that going that route brings higher quality. - Jul 2016

Everything is expensive, especially compared to Europe. - Sep 2015

Produce is cheaper than in the U.S. or on par. Meat and cheese are much more expensive, 1.5 to 2 times as much as the U.S. Household supplies are reasonably priced as long as you are fine with local brands. - Aug 2015

Groceries aren't cheap- about like in the States. The produce is phenomenal, however. Best to go to a local market or stand and haggle. You will never find better carrots, cauliflower, mangoes, greens, or pineapple. - Jul 2015

Family of Four: We spend US$60-$80 on fruits and veggies and around US$150 to 200 on meat. The quality of fruits and veggies is great. Fresh fish is of superior quality here. Beef is cheap while chicken is expensive. - May 2015

Western style groceries are available but expensive. Nakumat is the main grocery store, quite convenient. - Dec 2014

Pretty good but can be expensive. - Jun 2014

You can get everything, but nothing in Kenya that an American would want is cheap. Add about 50% to the price of everything. Milk is around $4 per 3 liters. Meat is expensive. Beef and lamb is not as high but chicken and pork are at least $5 a pound. - Jun 2014

Produce is fabulous and very cheap. Meat is of varying quality and very expensive. Chicken is US$7/pound, beef is about US$7/pound, but they do not age beef here, so it tends to be chewy. Fish is pretty fresh and quite good. Household supplies are easy to find and relatively priced. - Mar 2014

Ugh, Expensive. The COLA needs a revamp. Milk/Dairy/Cheese are EXPENSIVE. Red meat is cheap but not aged so it isn't great. Chicken is overpriced. Eggs are cheap. Fruits and veggies are great and very inexpensive. Cleaning supplies are inexpensive but are super harsh and strong smelling. Coffee and tea are fabulous and inexpensive. Don't expect to find sour cream. You can find ingredients for Mexican food. The embassy morale store is a racket. Get your staples through Amazon Prime. That being said, you can eat well here. - Jul 2013

Groceries can be pricier than you think. With the exception of seasonal vegetables, expect to spend at least the same as in the states if not more. - Jun 2013

You can find everything you need either through local supermarkets or the Commissary. Orange juice though, can be expensive, as I guess all the oranges have to be imported. One thing I've learned is to buy a couple of whatever it is when you're at Nakumatt because restocking can be iffy at best, and you can go months without seeing that same thing again in stock. Grocery prices are comparable to those in Washington, DC. - Dec 2012

Fresh produce is widely available in-season, and is very cheap. For example, tomatoes are 70 shillings per kilo (at the inflated ex-pat prices). Nakumatt is a Walmart-type store where many of the dairy, dry goods, and household items can be found. It can get pricey (especially imported items), but most things can be found. Olive oil is $12/liter, milk $4 for 3 liters, and cheese is expensive. Good linens and sheets are expensive! Meat costs about the same as in the US but is of lower quality. - Aug 2012

I don't find groceries, etc. to be that exorbitantly expensive, but I haven't lived in the States for some time. Anything imported will cost you $.Chicken is expensive, steak is not. Gas is hugely expensive as are the AEA stores (commissary). - Dec 2011

Cost comparable to DC or higher, with the exception of some produce bought from roadside stands. It's odd the things that are available and aren't. A lot of it varies. - Dec 2011

All groceries are available, mostly of European origin with some American brands and, of course, the local brands. Prices are high, Nairobi is not cheap living. - Sep 2011

Availability is good, especially for this continent. You can get a reasonable facsimile of most things in the American store (but it won't taste as good and it will cost two to three times the US price). - Dec 2010

Terribly high, even for "local" items. - Dec 2009

Produce and fruit is cheap and wonderful. Meat, on the other hand, is puny and pricey. Bring canned meat from the US. - Jul 2009

Groceries are expensive but you can get pretty much anything you want though it'll be a European brand probably. Everything is expensive. - Jun 2008

There are two big modern supermarket chains (Nakumatt and Uchumi) that have a wide range of food and household items. Prices are not unlike costs in the USA, though certain imported goods (notably peanut butter and breakfast cereal) are quite expensive. Almost everything is available, but not necessarily U.S. brands (no Kraft Dinner, for example) nor are brands consistently available from week to week (e.g., you might get Nestle Corn Flakes one week, then a South African brand the next).The quality of fruits, vegetables, and meat in both chains sometimes leaves a lot to be desired, but a number of locations are in malls with stand-alone fruit/vegetable shops (e.g., Zucchini’s) and butchers, with much better selection and quality. Prices for produce are extremely reasonable. In addition to these chains, there are smaller, more personalized shops that have a good selection and often more in the way of specialty spices or imported goods. - Feb 2008

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