We as Americans usually jump into our readily available vehicles and take off for a day of shopping. We have become accustomed to dealing with crowded stores, searching for specific items and dealing with all the people who are doing the same. What we think of as normal, can quickly become a periodic ritual that creates a stressful environment. American’s shopping habits are distinctive and like no other country. But we can also learn from other cultures regarding their limited resources and products.
Shopping in Mexico vs shopping in America
Mexico in comparison to other North American countries offer several different shopping experiences. These differences appear when visiting the various stores and markets. There are plenty of locations that offer such needs as food, household goods and personal items. Your shopping op tions will also be broadly diverse between traditional and contemporary.
In most towns/cities in Mexico, there are plenty of local markets and chain stores everywhere. They are usually within walking distance and/or centrally located. In America, traveling lengthy distances between selected stores is not unusual. In Mexico the grocery stores, local mega retailers and open markets are within blocks of each other. This allows shoppers to browse between merchants without having to drive, use a taxi or public transportation.
Let’s compare a few shopping habits. Going to Walmart in the US offers a wide variety of items in every category. In Mexico and even at Walmart, selections are limited and in some cases availability can be a hit and miss. For example: when looking for catsup, there will be a name brand like ‘Hunts’ and then a Mexico labeled one right next to it. The same applies to canned goods, cereals, and other dry goods as well. Suggestion: when your favorite item(s) appear on the shelf, capitalize on it by buying more than what you immediately need and/or use. There is a chance you won’t see these items for a while.
Where in Mexico I can buy produce?
There are several places you can buy produce. You can choose from larger grocery chains, local corner stores and/or open markets – like America’s farmers market. Most stores offer vegetables and fruits that are organically grown. To insure that all fruits and vegetables are free of any bacterial matter, they should be soaked in an iodine solution. You can find this small bottle with its reddish solution in most grocery stores. Fruits like apples, pears and bananas to name a few are ready to eat – little to no ripening time needed. There are some imported fruits available like apples and oranges, but you will pay a much higher price for them.
Various dairy items in Mexico are processed differently. Eggs are not power washed and chemically treated which means they do not need refrigeration. Most of all the cheeses are from goat’s milk and are pale white in color and soft in texture. Mexico sells non-homogenized milk which needs no refrigeration. Meat products like chicken, beef and pork are not a bright red because of the lack of sodium nitrates used. Fish is openly displayed on ice and not behind a glass display case. It is also not usual to see most fish displayed whole. Seafood plays a big part in the Mexican diet. It’s inexpensive, plentiful and is easy to prepare.
Food prices in Mexico
The cost of food is certainly relative to who is purchasing it. If the locals are buying, you have to consider their earned wages versus the cost of goods. As being a North American visitor or a part/fulltime resident, your US dollar goes much further. If you’re typical grocery bill – per visit back home is a hundred dollars, expect to pay 50 to 60 percent less if not more depending on where you shop. Food prices are set so the locals can also afford to shop.
Last but not least, you will most likely visit your favorite local stores more frequently than back home. As we mentioned above, the veggies, fruits and other perishables have a much shorter shelf life than in the US. Foods grown without pesticides and fertilized with organic matter do have their limitations. Combine this with taking time to walk to the markets will add a viable element to your healthy life style. Not to mention your pocket book as well.
Remember, at Top Mexico Real Estate… We make it happen!