Ask a regular shopper and they would probably throw in various parametres that determine the final tally at the till: be it location, actual day of the week or how many planes and cargo ships have burned up the miles to transport the produce fresh from the tropics.
Kanti Shah, a homemaker residing in Bur Dubai, said: “My home has a working kitchen, with three meals cooked daily on an average, along with tea or snacks in the late afternoon when the children are home.
“To stretch that grocery allowance, yet ensuring I am not compromising on quality, I buy the staples such as flour, rice and oil in bulk when there are promotions at hand; while the fresh produce is purchased almost daily from different supermarkets that offer deals on their market days.”
Shah has chalked out her neighbourhood Spinneys for the Monday Market Day stop, while further up the street, Baqer Mohebi, Citimart and Choithrams, round up the rest of the work week.
She states Fridays are spent further afield either at LuLu or Union Co-op for the bulk buying.
Shah has the luxury of time some may say, while several others complain lack of shopping options and limited items can pump up the grocery bill.
Brianna Kelps, a resident of Dubai Marina states: “The options in my neighbourhood include Waitrose, Spinneys and the local mom-and-pop shop down the block.
“I usually find the supermarket located in the mall packed with items that are priced higher, but then again, the produce is perhaps of better quality than the shop around the corner, which can be a hit or miss on most days.”
However, there are also some who seek out high priced alternatives due to a preference of exported fresh produce or organic options over locally grown.
Head to Choithrams on Al Wasl Road and your average tomatoes range from Dh5 for locally grown, to a bunch from Holland that is priced at Dh22.95; the plum tomatoes bunch is Dh1 higher than its brethren.
Similarly, head to Aswaaq and the price fluctuates whether one plans on chowing down on local apples, or ones that have been flown down from New Zealand with nearly a Dh5 difference between the two, with the higher end costing Dh12.50.
Emirates 24|7 rolled out the shopping cart, heading to three different chains: the community-based boutique chain Aswaaq in Al Bad’aa; the mid-market and mass appeal chain of Choithrams and the neighbourhood Pasons Al Madina in Karama.
In the fresh produce category, the price of tomatoes, along with the variety, fluctuated the most with Choithrams offering the most variety with prices ranging from Dh23.95 to Dh5, while Aswaaq’s locally grown ones cost Dh6.25 per kg, while Holland produced ones were priced competitively at Dh13.25.
It was Pasons Al Madina that came up on top with Dh2.75 for its Jordan export batch of tomatoes.
Carrots from Australia cost Dh3.25 at both Choithrams and Pasons Al Madina, while priced at Dh4.50 at Aswaaq.
Similarly, potatoes from GCC were Dh3.25/kg and Dh2.75/kg at Choithrams and Pasons Al Madina, respectively; Aswaaq had them imported from Egypt and priced at Dh3.95.
While the prices of the aforementioned apples fluctuated as per its pedigree and origin, onions and cauliflowers averaged out at Dh3.25/kg and Dh9.50/kg, respectively, with Pasons charging Dh13 for the latter.
The price of Tilda rice fluctuated with a Dh1 difference, with Aswaaq selling the 1kg bag at Dh16.50, while it was Dh17.75 at Choithrams and Dh17.50 at Pasons. Incidentally, if you bumped up the quantity to two kilogrammes, Pasons emerged most cost effective at Dh29.50, while Choithrams retailed it at Dh34.95.
Switch over to flour and a 2kg bag of Pillsbury whole wheat was Dh9.95 at Choithrams, while buying Noor Sunflower cooking oil 1.8litre bottle beat everyone to come at Dh19 at Pasons.
If all that cooking prompted you to start the clothes wash, Tide’s 1.5kg box was best bought at Aswaaq for Dh18.50.