Grocery shopping in England was one of the activities we most feared before we arrived. We were convinced that only “old lady” food such as pâté, calves liver and other unmentionables would be available. Lauren and Grant were sure they would never see an American brand at a grocery store, that is if we could actually find a “real” grocery store.
On our initial visit back in April we visited grocery stores about the size of a Trader Joes that offered a functional selection of food items. None of the specialty breads, meats, etc that U.S. stores now offer. Lance began shopping at the Sainsbury in town center which is a nice little store offering all the basics. He also shopped at Boots for soaps, household and pharmacy items. We have been told that Sainsbury’s has larger stores when you head outside of the town center.
Then, yesterday we discovered Morrisons. (Can you hear the angels singing or is that just me?) Now remember we have to walk everywhere and Morrisons was at least a 15-20 minute brisk walk. From the outside it is the size of a large Safeway. The kids even suggested Costco, but it is not that big. It does have a gas station (Petrol Station) in front.
We paid one pound to use a shopping cart (this is how they keep them from getting stolen) and headed inside. I was wishing we were in our house with a full sized refrigerator so we could load up on all the good stuff. I guess we would also need a car to transport it all. We reminded ourselves that we had an eight bag maximum because we have to carry everything on our walk back.
The produce section was fantastic. Yes they do have avocados in England! They even have some new items we have not tried before. The bakery was great, the meat counter amazing and they even had a wine department. (Do you hear the angels now?)
They have many salad, sandwich and dinner-to-go items prepared by the store. Each of these times must be sold the day they are made, so if you shop near closing time all of these times are marked down dramatically. They are of the quality of Nugget’s deli and specialty foods. Yummy!
There were many American brands and lots of new UK brands for us to try out in the coming months. Did you know Heinz makes soup? Milk can also be purchased in a bag. For 89 pence you can purchase about a half gallon bag of milk. They have pitchers that the bag slides into or you can pour it into your own container at home. Also, the British have a serious sweet tooth with a long isle of chocolates and other sweets to choose from.
We will keep you posted as we try out some of these new goodies.