Food prices

Often people will ask how expensive food is here.  It’s hard for me to say because I don’t know how much food is elsewhere!  So, I gathered some sample food items and their prices and have listed them here.  Please let me know how much more and less it is compared to where you live.  One caveat: This is from one of the nicest grocery stores in Lusaka so things may be slightly cheaper elsewhere.

US$         kwatcha            Item                                                                          

$3            14,900               2% Milk (2 liters)

$6.38      32,000              Two Papaya

$3.09      15,500               Greek Yoghurt (500g)

$2.15       10,800              Pack of 6 Hamburger buns

$7.00      34,900              1kilo Ground Beef ($3.18/lb)

$3.50      17,500               Per kilo, Whole chicken ($1.59/lb)

$0.50        2,500              One Cucumber

$1.00        4,900              Package of 8 Tomatoes

$3.00       15,000            Whole Watermelon

$5.08       25,400            Cheese 300g (10.6 oz)

$5.92        29,600            Feta 750g (26.5 oz)

$4.78        23,900            Butter 500g (18 oz)

$6.86        34,300           Frozen Tilapia 500g (18 oz)

$2.38        11,900            10 pieces Pita Bread

$4.68        23,400           2.5k Rice (jasmine, white, long grain)($2.12/lb)

$2.68        13,400            2k Cane Sugar ($1.21/lb)

$3.98        19,900             2.5k Bread Flour ($1.81/lb)

$1.00          5,000             Can Soda (Coke, Fanta, Diet Coke)

$1.68           8,400            Colgate Toothpaste 100 ml

$7.50         37,500             10 rolls 2-ply Toilet Paper

$3.00       15,000             Pack of 6 Tangerines

$4.00       19,900             Two Avocados

$3.06       15,400             Loaf of Whole Grain/Seeded Bread

$4.16        20,900           Dubliner Irish Cheese (imported – 200g)

$6.00       30,000           30 egg flat (~$2.40 a dozen)

$2.00       10,000           Local Jam (500g, tastes great!)

$2.30        11,600           Streaky Bacon (250g)

$2.45        12,300          Lasagna Sheets (no boil; 500g)

$1.73          8,700          Spaghetti noodles (500g)

$3.37        16,900         Sea Salt (1 kilo/2.2 lbs)

$4.32        21,700        Rice Krispies (400g)

$5.55        27,900       Special K (375g)

$4.36        21,900       Kelloggs Corn Flakes (500g)

$6.27        31,500       Tropical Cluster Granola (750g)

$3.36        16,900       Coconut Milk (standard Can)

$7.15        35,900       Ricotta (250g)

$2.17        10,900       Italian Tomatoes (standard can, imported)

$3.20         16,000      Washed Lettuce (400g)

$2.97         14,900       Pears (per kilo)

$0.97          4,900        Broccoli Florets (two large heads)

$26.33   132,299      Cashews ($12/lbs)

$22.90   115,000     Almonds ($10.41/lbs)

$1.75          5,900      Fresh Basil (plastic pack, bunch)

$5.87       29,500     Philadelphia Cream Cheese (250g)

$6.55       32,900     Pillsbury Cake Mix

$3.00       14,900      Pears (Kilo)

$4.96       24,900      Pringles

$2.53       12,700       5 Roses Tea (50 bags)

$3.38       17,000       Peanut Butter (400g)


Another caveat:  The expensive produce, like Papayas and Avocados, were imported from South Africa because they’re out of season here.  Almost everyone has a Papaya, Lemon and/or Avocado tree so when they’re in season you can get them very inexpensively at roadside stands.  You’ll notice above that the imported items like Philadelphia Cream Cheese or Pillsbury Cake Mix are the very expensive items.


About Kimm X Jayne

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13 Responses to Food prices

  1. Lisa says:

    This is really interesting! Many are similar to the states but some are outrageous, like cake mixes-we can get them for 99 cents on sale to 1.59 not on sale. Milk is about the same, but we switched organic and pay between 6.50 a gallon and 7.00. Organic eggs we can get 2 dozen for $6.00. But I wonder if some of the foods there are less processed, fewer chemicals for growing and may be better for you? Don’t know. We seem to be paying more and more just for food grown naturally.

  2. jiji says:

    hi,i live in tanzania and food here is less .might be moving to lusaka and quite surprised to find that tropical fruits like papaya and avocado expensive

    • Kimm X Jayne says:

      I should say these papayas and avocados are imported from South Africa because they’re out of season here. In season they are either FREE (because there are so many on trees on many yards, including ours) or very inexpensive at roadside stands.

      I should say that veggies/fruits in season and locally produced are very inexpensive and tasty. Most everyone uses chemical pesticides and fertilizers though.

  3. Joanne Hutchinson says:

    It is hard to compare for me as I buy in bulk from Cosco. At regular grocery store I bought a doz eggs for $2.89 CAN, Cosco 18 eggs 3.49, I buy ( organic) ground beef for $3.50 lb, reg lg can Tom $1.25, 1 lb butter $3.49, 4L milk 2% $5.99, but Cosco price is $4.19. Yogurt( not Greek) $2.79-2.99, 100g feta cheese $2.99, Flour unbleached 2.5k $5.79, green onions bunch of 5 .79cents. I will print off your list and look at it tomorrow. Talking about all this food is reminding me that I have to go cook dinner. We are having Butter chicken from a jar. ( I can make my own, but some days it is just easier to pour, especially when it was on sale). Avacado ea $1.99, Pears $3.73/kg.Until then! Joanne

  4. Brooke Goode says:

    what grocery store? where can you get pillsbury’s and philly cream cheese??????

  5. about the same – a few pennies off here and there

  6. Ayana says:

    Thanks sooooo much for this post:)!

    Here in Santo Domingo, our prices are something like this:
    $3.25 for 10 lbs oranges
    $.75 – $1 per avocado
    $.20 – $.25 per plantain
    $4 for 1lb of butter
    $5 for 1 litre of soy milk
    $5 for 1 lb of turbinado sugar
    $1.45 – 1.85 per pineapple
    $2 for romaine lettuce
    $1.30 for bakery croissant
    $3.50 for a loaf of whole grain bread from the German Baker
    $2.10 for 6 organic tomatoes
    $.65 per young coconut (freshly cut and emptied by the coconut man)
    $4 10 oz. Food Club brand cheese
    1 litre of extra virgin olive oil is $10.50
    In addition to those prices above taken from one of many U.S. style grocery stores, a thin-crust pizza at an Italian restaurant that is moderately priced costs $9.50, a bowl of risotto with portabella mushrooms is $10.50, and the most surprising thing of on this Caribbean island is that an average plate of mero (Cod maybe) is $13.

    And Liza Minelli tickets cost $150 – $300 + RENT (adapted from the Broadway show but in Spanish) is $31 – $57.

  7. Pingback: Chicken Tractor | Imagine Rural Development Initiative

  8. Cheryl Weaver says:

    Ms. Jayne:

    I stumbled across your blog while doing research for a school economics project about Zambia. I was wondering if I might have your permission to utilize some of the information you give about Zambia in our presentation? Of course, full credit given to you and your blog for any information used. This blog about food prices and a previous one you did about opening a bank account will be particularly useful.

    On a personal note….what a great blog! I’ve never been one to have an interest in reading blogs, but I can certainly see what a useful tool it could be. My sister works at MSU (she’s a nurse), and I grew up in Ohio, so have heard of Zingerman’s, although I have not eaten there myself. Oh, and sorry to say ~ Go Buckeyes!

    I look forward to your response.

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