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:


  1. I noticed baby in a box at the market. Do they come boxed or do you have to box them yourselves?
    Are they sold by the pound or at a flat rate?
    Thanks for such an insightful and thorough article.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Hi Doug,
    yes, she is a cutey pie for sure! I will try to do more blogging on other areas of cost of living in EC soon.
    Glad you liked it,
    Stay Tuned,

  4. Very inspiring! I love hearing you lost all that weight and can still eat some sweets and lots of fruit. Thanks Jack.

    (RCon's sister) Kelly

  5. Hi Jack! Just found this blog. Thanks so much for the detail. I went to the TIA site and have been checking prices for hours. They appear to be very close to the prices I am currently paying here in East/Central Florida. I am shopping at a chain whose merchandise is very much aimed at our Latin population. I recognized many of the products TIA carries, and the prices are not much different for the most part. That's not bad - I know I am already shopping economically. The fresh produce, which makes up the majority of my food bill, appears to be MUCH less than I am currently paying, to say nothing of what you very correctly pointed out - that everything is fresher and essentially local, not shipped globally. Thanks so much for a terrific article. I think I've learned more useful information from reading this one article of yours than I have in months of research. Now I'm going to subscribe and dig through everything you've ever written! :-) -Judi

  6. Hi Judi,
    Thank you for passing by, glad you were able to benefit. here is a photo album of one of the TIA stores in Cotacachi (Pop: 10,000) where my Aunt & Uncle live 2 hrs North of Quito:

  7. Hi Judi - All of my web & blog links, articles, photos, info and contact tel. #'s - US & EC. are all below:

    Thank you! Jack,
    see Ecuador:

    toll free from U.S. & Canada:
    770-828-7913 or 770-872-4104,
    Ecuador Off: 011-(593) 2-235-4329,
    Claro: 011-(593) 98-806-6508,
    Movistar: 011-(593) 98-743-3009,
    Talk free on "skype" user name: "Jack.Abercrombie"



    You Tube:



    My google maps - saved places - frequented in EC:

    Photos of the Transport - Tour Vehicle: 2011 Kia K2700 Diesel 1.5 Ton 4wd / 4dr / half mini van /
    half truck:

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