Baku - Post Report Question and Answers

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

I think there is pretty good availability for most things. It's not Africa where you spend US $15 to buy cheese. Like many countries in the Foreign Service, if you can't go without your American products, you can just use Amazon. I haven't had a problem making anything really as long as I substitute certain things. Plus, there is even a pork delivery service that will bring products right to your house. It's fantastic! - Jun 2021

If you shop at the expensive western grocery store, you will pay a lot. If you shop at the regular grocery stores, you will pay less than the States. If you shop at the local markets (and can speak Azerbaijani), you will pay a lot less than the States. Most things are available locally, but you will pay a price for some imported goods. However, the grocery store Bravo has been expanding and popping up all over the city and they carry a wide variety of goods, including imported Waitrose (British) and Casino (French) products. There are also quite a few German imports available and certainly tons of Russian. - Jan 2019

Prices are decent as long as you buy fruits and vegetables that are in season and are grown in the area or are imported from nearby countries. The variety of produce is not the most amazing, but we were able to find most foods. It’s a consumables post, so you can ship typical American foods and drinks as they will be difficult to find here. People still cook a lot from scratch, so you won’t be able to find many good convenience foods. About every six months, the Baku Employee Association orders goods (including frozen) from Aviano at a moderate price increase.

If you turn in your VAT receipts, you can get 18% back of your grocery purchases, which makes a big difference. For us, all of our VAT reimbursements add up to about $1.5k per year. - Jul 2018

As usual overseas, you're not going to find all the international brands and products you love from home. If you have favorites, bring them with you or order online. Except for Georgian wine, local wine and beer is unexciting, however the vodka selection is fabulous! If you're not wedded to specific brands, you can find most products if you're willing to look and pay for them. However, going local is your better option. My housekeeper rarely spends more than 10 AZN on any given day for groceries and cleaning supplies for a family of two. - May 2018

Groceries are very inexpensive. I can feed my house of 6 on about $100 per week. There are new grocery stores that have opened since we've been here that cater to the expat community, but any "western" products are higher priced and hard to get. It is a Muslim country, so pork/bacon is hard to come by, but not impossible. The commissary inside the embassy is very small, but does provide cheeses, meats, and canned goods that are otherwise impossible to find. This is a consumables post, so you want to import liquids like peanut butter, soy sauce and other cooking sauces, salad dressing (even though the lettuce is hit or miss,) I also import all my beauty products and laundry supplies, diapers and baby food. - Mar 2017

Groceries can be expensive if you try to eat American style but the local fare is reasonable. Most things are available, but not the Western type or brands. - Jul 2015

You can get 85% of the things you can get in the US - but you will certainly pay more for some of them. The grocery stores downtown are at least 25% more expensive than the ones farther out. Milk is atrociously expensive - anywhere from $1.50 to $3.00 a liter. This is a very dairy-fat-loving culture, so you have an amazing selection of butter and sour cream with fat content all of the way up to 42% - but no fat-free items. Pretty much anything basic you can get, and in the summer produce gets very cheap; most fruits and vegetables going down to about 50 cents a pound. Cherries are delicious here, and very cheap. In the fall I was able to buy apples for applesauce for 25 cents a pound. Beef and lamb are available as butcher counter cuts, but they don't look like anything in the US, and even ground beef is $10/pound, since the price is the same for any cut. Anything imported is more expensive, and various types of cheese are even more, with Parmesan cheese topping the list at $15 a pound. - Jan 2013

If you work for the government, then it is highly highly recommended that you do consumables shopping (Costco, BJs etc) to ship out here! Especially toiletries and liquids of all kinds (detergent, soaps, oils, etc). Most families do one additional consumables while here. The groceries/household supplies here are extremely expensive and of poor quality in comparison to US standards. You may find some similar names, Tide, etc., but again it's not the same in any shape way or form! You can easily spend $50-60 USD each time you walk into a grocery store, regardless of whether it's for a handful of items. Examples: Avocado: US$11.50.Chocolate Chip Morsels: US$12. Everything that is "American" is insanely expensive. Only a couple groceries that carry our type of products. Shopping here has been the biggest challenge. AND, there is no one-stop-shop here! You'll have to go to at least a minimum of three stores to get maybe two to five items (no joke). - Dec 2011

Groceries are expensive and the selection is not good. Make full use of your consumables. - Sep 2010

Expensive, since anything of quality is imported. Meat is horrible here unless you like lamb. - Aug 2010

Everything is expensive here. $10 for a gallon of milk, but that's what your COLA is for. - Oct 2009

You can pretty much get anything here if you are willing to pay the price for it. Western products are very expensive (US$8 for a jar of salsa). Fresh produce and vegetables are relatively cheap. Be prepared to make everything from scratch. - Nov 2008

You can find almost anything you are looking for here. Once you learn which grocery stores carry which products you will not be as frustrated. Western type products and brands you are familiar with are available but are rather pricey. - Sep 2008

You can find almost anything, although you'll probably have to go to 2-3 stores if you're looking for something particular. Baku is relatively expensive and getting more so. - Sep 2008

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