Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cost of Living: Supermarkets in ECUADOR

I find there are a lot of questions on many Ecuador Expat forums & blogs about cost of living. In this posting I would like to address food costs at a local Supermarket chain called "TIA", Tia is an acronym for Tiendas Industriales Asociadas ,
 ..and Tia of course also happens to be the Spanish noun for: "Aunt", average size Tia is about the square footage of a Walgreens pharmacy back home, they are found throughout Ecuador and in some towns and communities they do have Super Tias about the size of an Ingle's grocery store. to put the TIA store and it's merchandise into perspective for you, Tia puts me in mind of a chain back home in the S.E. / US called Piggly Wiggly. Not a big selection, no frills, TIA has a few US brands but not many, but has the basic necessities at a fair price. A working class man's grocery store. The Tia I normally go to nearest my home (under 2 miles) is in San Antonio de Pichincha in the NW suburb of Quito, right at the bottom of the hill from the Middle of the World Monument & Park; Lat. 000.000.000

We try to go to TIA about once a month for our monthly bulk shopping for a family of 2, my girlfriend and I.

..grass fed beef, chicken, trout, tuna, all fresh and from right here in Ecuador, not shipped across the planet. shortage of cake, bread, sandwich meat, Ruffles chips, cheese, flour, canned goods. toothpaste (w/ fluoride unfortuneately),, ketchup, mushrooms, vegetable oil, cereal, sweets, eggs, mashed potato mix,

..more coffee, oregano, snack cakes similar to pound cake, (did I say more sweets?) milk, butter, clothes washing powder, clothes hangers, dish washing detergent,

...various household cleansers, clorox, soap, fabric softener, the bill last month March 23, 2012 at Tia came to $152.33

..a lot of these items such as cleansers and such we may only purchase every 3-6 months, could have trimmed another $20. -$30. off of the bill,

..the buggy was quite full 11-12 plastic bags, an 18" long receipt. I could have got a taxi back to the house with this load for $2.50 but was in my truck.

...after we came out of the TIA we stepped next door and nearly filled a 50# feed bag (pictured above in #1 photo on floor) from a street vendor / Farmer with the bulk of our fruits and vegetables for $11.50

..I guess to be fair and accurate the bag may have weighed in at about 35#'s

..onions, tomatoes, parsley,

..16 oranges, pack of butter beans, lemons, pineapples for .50 cents a piece!

..a papaya, green- yellow- orange & red hot peppers, bananas, plantain, corn.
As we run low on certain items through the month like bread, milk, meat, fruit and perishables we will shop at our local (3 blocks down the road) Mom & Pop neighborhood grocers & fruit stand for the remainder of the month...roughly about another $20. per week for 2-3 weeks out of the month.

Bringing my monthly grocery bill (& household items) to just under $250. per month for 2 adults. So there you have it, at this time in early 2012.

 There is another economical grocery chain in metro Quito called Santa Maria:

Santa Maria is cleaner and well managed but about the same price range & a little better selection of a Super Tia, and still in my humble opinion / ranking of the Piggly Wiggly or an Ingles US equivalent & square footage.

If I really wanted to beat the bush and cut down on the food bill a little bit more, There are numerous / myriads of Indigenous Farmer's Markets but I find it somewhat time consuming and not necessary at this time. I do try my hand at gardening and am getting better at it.

 Now, when I go to missing many of the products & staples I am accustomed to from back in the US, I have to go to Supermaxi or a Megamaxi at least ever 3 months in place of my normal TIA routine:

 To me Supermaxi is like a Super Walmart, and Megamaxi puts me in mind of a Sam's Club, and If I am not very careful I will get extremely close to a $200. bill with a near full buggy really fast!

 When I arrived in Ecuador Sept. 2008 I weighed in at 235#'s. Within my first 6 months I lost down to 195#'s, and can't seem to lose any more or gain anymore? As you can see from my grocery bill list I do have a sweet tooth and don't exactly eat right. My exercise consists of taking people on Day Tours around metro Quito and most any over the road adventure tourism they may want in Ecuador.

 I have heard recent horror stories from Family and Friends back in GA & FL. on soaring grocery store prices. So I hope this was some help, I will try to do some posting on other areas of  "Cost of Living in Ecuador" soon. If any questions or suggestions I can be reached at, or call me on my toll free ATL. GA. US telephone # 770-872-4104, skype username: "jack.abercrombie"
See more Photos here: 
and here: