How Do U.S. Food and Product Prices Compare to the Rest of the World

Written by Carly Hallman

America is often heralded as the land of plenty and prosperity. It’s easy to walk into a grocery store and choose from thousands of foods and products. But have you ever wondered how much these items would cost in other countries? Meat may seem expensive in America, but in truth, the price of beef around the world reaches more than $60 a kilogram in some countries! Check out this visualization on TitleMax of food and consumer goods prices around the world:

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Here are some of the most expensive food prices around the world compared to U.S. prices:

  1. A dozen eggs in Lebanon ($7.86) costs nearly three times as much as it does in the U.S ($2.67).
  2. One bottle of Heineken is twice as expensive in Norway ($4.40) as it is in the U.S. ($2.20).
  3. One kilogram of beef in South Korea ($61.41) is nearly two and a half times more expensive than it is in the U.S. ($24.18). It’s 24 times more expensive than beef in Russia!
  4. One kilogram of chicken in Switzerland ($27.74) is three times more expensive than chicken in the United States ($9.10). It’s 11 times more expensive than chicken in Brazil, which goes for $2.41 per kilogram.
  5. One liter of cooking oil in Lebanon ($13.49) is three and a half times more expensive than it is in the United States ($3.69).

What Is the Most Expensive Country in the World?

Switzerland is considered to be the most expensive nation in the world. That’s backed up by the data on this infographic; beef, eggs, chicken, salt, flour, cooking oil, bananas, and McDonald’s food all have some of the highest prices in Switzerland. For example, a kilogram of chicken commands the staggering price of U.S. $27.74 in Switzerland. That’s almost triple the price of chicken in the United States ($9.10) and more than $10 higher than the price of chicken in Iceland, which is the second most expensive place to purchase poultry ($15.77). Why is Switzerland so expensive? One of the primary reasons is that the average Swiss salary tends to be higher than in other countries. The average salary in Geneva, Switzerland, is 98,000 Swiss francs, which is equivalent to $107,270 in the United States. So proportionally, they can afford the higher grocery, housing, and entertainment prices.

Why Is Beef So Expensive in Korea?

If you ever watch Korean dramas or Korean movies, you may have noticed that beef is treated as a luxury and only served for special occasions and shows of respect. Logistically, Korean beef is expensive because farmland is extremely limited. South Korea’s terrain is rocky and hilly, so most of the habitable land is used for residential, commercial, and industrial purposes. Historically, cattle were used primarily as labor animals and deemed too valuable to eat. Buddhism during the Goryeo dynasty (918-1392) also influenced Korea’s approach to cattle, as they were deemed sacred. The Joseon era and Confucianism eventually shifted this mentality, but even then, cattle was only allowed to be eaten by society’s elite. These limiting factors have driven up the quality of beef raised in Korea. One of the native cattle breeds of South Korea, Hanwoo, is believed to rival the flavor of Kobe and Wagyu beef.

Data for this visualization was sourced from GlobalProductPrices.com, license: Creative Commons 3.0.


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