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Which Italian Supermarket Gets You More For Your Euro?

There’s a high chance you’re grocery shopping at a terrible supermarket in Florence. Those convenient, central locations sandwiched between a monument and your apartment are overpriced and understocked. We compared the available selection and prices of popular name-brand goods at our favorite supermarket chain in Florence’s historic city center (Conad), and our top choice just outside the city walls (Coop), to show the impact a little walking can have on your weekly grocery shopping. And if saving money isn’t your main concern, we also threw Florence’s new Eataly gourmet superstore into the mix.

Let’s start with a brief introduction of each supermarket chain:

1. Coop

If you can carry a grocery bag long distances, a trip to Coop will make you laugh at “choices” offered in downtown supermarkets. Coop’s in Florence are located just outside the historic city center (the closet is about a 20-minute walk from the duomo), where they have the space for 25 aisles, a bakery, and an enormous assortment of everything from fresh fish, meat, and cheeses to wine glasses, socks, and power adapters. For high quality, a big selection, and the cheapest prices, this is the number one place to do your grocery shopping.

 

Coop Grocery store in Florence

Coop Supermarket near Piazza Beccaria in Florence.

2. Conad

If you can’t make it outside Florence’s city center, this is your best bet. Like all other centrally located supermarkets, downtown Conad’s are small and offer few choices; however, compared to Meta, Centro Supermercato, Sissa, and Despar, they’re cheaper and noticeably higher quality. And with six locations (4 regular Conad’s and 2 fancier “Sapori & Dintorni” Conad’s) inside Florence’s historic walls, chances are you won’t have to walk far to get there.

Conad by S.M.N Station

One of the many Conad’s located near the S.M.N. train station

3. Eataly

If you’re a student and plan on doing your weekly grocery run here, think again. The prices will be way out of your range. Although Eataly is a nice place to splurge every now and then, and perfect for picking up edible gifts to smuggle back home for your friends and family. This international chain of Italian gourmet grocery stores has locations in New York, Chicago, Japan, and Italy; and the newly opened Florence location has the entire city wandering in and pushing you out of the way to get their hands on the country’s most delicious premium products. Besides shopping, you can order a meal from counters divided by food category (meat, fish, vegetarian, sandwiches, pizza) and eat it at a table inside or on the outdoor terrace. The only downside is you will be paying the same as if you ate at a real restaurant, without getting waited on.

Gourmet Shop, Eataly

The uncomfortably-crowded Eataly Florence, just a few minutes’ walk from the Duomo

Now that you’ve gotten to know all three stores,  it’s time to look into our price comparisons between them:

Conad vs. Eataly vs. Coop

Notice: Eataly did not carry hygiene products so a bar does not exist for those items.
(**): Eataly does not carry these brands so we went with the cheapest alternative.

Mozzarella is a necessity in your Italian fridge, and you will get the best value when purchasing it at the Coop. It’s not a drastic difference, only €.07, but hey! Every cent counts, right?

Mukki Mozzarella price comparison

[left] Conad vs. [right] Coop

And of course you can’t live with out toilet paper. Whether your trading off with your roommates on who buys the next pack or if you are buying it for yourself each time you might want to consider Coop. You are getting a bigger value (pack of 10) for a low cost of €.98 where as at Conad you will be getting a pack of four for €1.53 more. Hello savings!

Toliet Paper in Conad vs COOP

[left] Conad £2.51 vs. [right] COOP €.98

You will be saving €1.30 when shopping at Conad rather then Eataly for your penne pasta. If you avoid Eataly for your weekly food shopping you will be saving yourself €10.50 a week, which comes to €126 during a typical three-month study abroad session. That’s a flight to Paris or a new leather jacket from the market. Those are way more enjoyable than expensive pasta, right?

Penne Pasta Comparison

[left] Eataly vs. [right] Conad

All in all, the average total savings between the 11 items we checked at Coop and Conad was €0.82. So if your spending about €35 a week on groceries you will be saving €0.98 per week when shopping at the Coop. For three months abroad, that comes to €11.16. Even though shopping at Coop won’t make you rich, we promise it is still worth the walk. You will be paying less for better quality products and a greater selection, especially on household items, fruit, vegetables, meat, and fish (city Conad’s usually only have frozen seafood). So if you want better tasting food and extra change in your pocket, put on your walking shoes and head on over to one of the Coop locations.

*This is not a promotional article for Coop. We really just love them and that’s all. :)

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