Whether you are visiting or moving to Switzerland, it’s crucial to know local food prices. In fact, they are some of the highest you have ever seen in your life. A family of four, for example, spends about 1,015 CHF only on groceries every month.
The cost of food in Switzerland depends on your preferences. You can spend about 45 CHF per day or 1,350 CHF per month eating at least one meal out daily and cooking yourself. Or you can mostly cook your food and spend 20 – 25 CHF daily or 600 – 750 CHF monthly.
Eating and drinking out is very expensive in Switzerland. Most tourists get shocked seeking local prices. If you eat out every meal during your Switzerland trip or stay, you should budget about 25-35 CHF for lunch and 40-50 CHF for dinner per person, including drinks. That’s almost 100 CHF per day!
However, people living in Switzerland spend much less than that; read on to learn more about food prices and how to save money in Switzerland.
How much does food cost in Switzerland?
An average family spends 1,015 CHF per month on food, excluding eating out. The expenditure ranges from 900 CHF to 1,100 CHF per month. Singles and couples spend less; monthly groceries needs for one person are about 500 CHF to 700 CHF.
A good rule of thumb is to budget about 45 CHF a day or 1,350 CHF on food and drinks, which includes eating out and buying groceries to cook at home.
People who prefer to cook their own food and only occasionally eat out will spend about 20-25 CHF per day.
So, suppose you cook mostly at home and buy cheap products, count with 20 CHF a day per person. A meal at a restaurant costs at least 20 CHF for a meal (minimum price).
If we are only visiting Switzerland and have a tight budget, you should plan to spend about 45 CHF a day on food.
Groceries in Switzerland are some of the most expensive in Europe, but they are also of top-notch quality. Expect to pay about 15-25 CHF/kg for cheese, 22 CHF/kg for ground beef, 36 CHF/kg for chicken, and 55-80 CHF/kg for steak.
Switzerland has several supermarket chains and discounts. The quality and selection are better in the supermarket. The main Swiss grocery chains are Migros and Coop.
Besides, there are discounts such as Aldi, Lidl, and Denner. Small villages have small grocery shops like Volg and Voi, where prices can be high, and selection is limited.
Eating out is pricey. You will save money shopping for pre-made and ready-to-go meals at supermarkets and train stations.
On average, a self-catering meal costs around 10 CHF to 15 CHF, while lunch with table service starts around 20 CHF. Expect to pay about 40 CHF for dinner. The cost of water is about 3-6 CHF per bottle.
While food prices in Switzerland vary, the average cost of food in Switzerland is around 43 CHF per day per person. This includes eating some of the means out during the day. For a budget traveler, the average price of dining out is around 17 CHF per person.
Breakfast prices are usually lower than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Switzerland is higher than fast food prices or street food prices.
An overview of typical expenses on eating out and groceries in Switzerland (with price range):
|Food or drink||Price in CHF||Price in USD|
|A meal in a fast food or similar restaurant||25 CHF (15-40)||26 USD (15-41)|
|Three-course meal for 2 people, average restaurant||100 CHF (80-150)||102 USD (82-153)|
|Meal at McDonald’s||15 CHF (13-17)||15 USD (13-17)|
|Local beer||6.00 CHF (5.00-9.00)||6.10 USD (5.10-9.20)|
|Import beer||6.00 CHF (4.50-8.00)||6.10 USD (4.60-8.20)|
|Coca-Cola/Pepsi||4.10 CHF (3.00-5.00)||4.20 USD (3.10-5.10)|
|Water||3.70 CHF (3.00-5.00)||3.80 USD (3.10-5.10)|
|Cappuccino||4.70 CHF (3.00-6.50)||4.80 USD (3.10-6.60)|
|Espresso||3.30 CHF (2.10-4.60)||3.40 USD (2.10-4.60)|
|Cheeseburger||4.50 CHF (3.90-5.10)||4.60 USD (4.00-5.20)|
Check out our guide on the cost of living for a family in Switzerland.
Groceries prices in Switzerland
The main supermarket chains in Switzerland are Migros and Coop. These stores carry a large selection of high-quality products. If you want to save money, there are several discounted and cheaper grocery stores, including Aldi, Lidl, Denner, and Volg.
Here is an overview of average groceries prices in Switzerland (2022):
|Food||Price in CHF||Price in USD|
|Milk (1 Liter)||1.60 CHF (1.20-2.00)||1.70 USD (1.20-2.00)|
|White bread (500g)||3.00 CHF (2.00-4.50)||3.00 USD (2.00-4.60)|
|Eggs (12)||5.80 CHF (3.00-8.40)||5.90 USD (3.10-8.60)|
|Local cheese (1kg)||24 CHF (14-50)||24 USD (14-51)|
|Water||1.20 CHF (0.50-2.00)||1.20 USD (0.51-2.00)|
|Bottle of wine||13 CHF (7.00-20)||13 USD (7.10-20)|
|Bottle of beer||2.10 CHF (1.00-3.40)||2.10 USD (1.00-3.50)|
|Pack of Marlboro||8.60 CHF (8.00-9.00)||8.80 USD (8.20-9.20)|
|Chicken fillets – (1kg)||25 CHF (12-37)||25 USD (12-37)|
|Apples (1kg)||3.80 CHF (2.00-5.00)||3.90 USD (2.00-5.10)|
|Oranges (1kg)||3.10 CHF (1.60-6.00)||3.20 USD (1.60-6.10)|
|Potato (1kg)||2.50 CHF (1.00-4.00)||2.60 USD (1.00-4.10)|
|Salat (1 Kopf)||2.20 CHF (1.40-3.00)||2.30 USD (1.40-3.10)|
|Reis (weiß) (1kg)||2.70 CHF (1.50-5.00)||2.80 USD (1.50-5.10)|
|Tomato (1kg)||4.10 CHF (2.00-6.70)||4.20 USD (2.00-6.80)|
|Banana (1kg)||2.80 CHF (2.00-5.00)||2.90 USD (2.00-5.10)|
|Onion (1kg)||2.40 CHF (1.30-4.00)||2.40 USD (1.30-4.10)|
|Beef||48 CHF (25-80)||49 USD (26-82)|
|Cucumber (1kg)||2.20 CHF (1.10-3.70)||2.30 USD (1.10-3.80)|
|Perrier water||3.70 CHF (1.60-6.20)||3.80 USD (1.60-6.30)|
|Sausage (1kg)||34 CHF (17-51)||35 USD (17-52)|
|Cottage cheese (1kg)||9.30 CHF (5.50-20)||9.50 USD (5.60-20)|
Dining and drinking out prices in Switzerland
In Switzerland, prices for eating out are very comparable to New York. For example, a pizza in a fast food place starts at 14 CHF; a nice meal costs 40 CHF.
While a three-course meal with a glass of wine for two people at a mid-range restaurant could cost around 100 CHF. Overall, eating at a restaurant costs at least 20 CHF for a meal (minimum price). In Zurich, a nice meal will cost you about 40-50 CHF.
While a three-course meal with a glass of wine for two people at a mid-range restaurant could cost around 100 CHF.
In Switzerland, a typical fast food meal costs: 15 EUR (15 CHF) for a McMeal at Mcdonald’s or BurgerKing (or a similar combined meal) and 4.60 EUR (4.50 CHF) for a cheeseburger. For coffee drinkers, a cappuccino costs 4.80 EUR (4.70 CHF), and an espresso 3.40 EUR (3.30 CHF).
On the other hand, in a self-service restaurant, which are plenty of out there, lunch for two with salad and main course, water, and coffee might cost around 30 CHF.
A dish of the day served in many restaurants at lunchtime is also a good deal. Depending on the restaurant, you get a solid sit-down meal for around 17-25 CHF. Sometimes you can get two or more courses for 25 CHF.
A pizza costs between 15-18 CHF, depending on size. A nice dinner with three courses will cost you anything from 50-100 CHF, including a glass or two of wine.
Cost of drinks out
If you go out for a meal, you also want to know how much drinks are priced at in Switzerland.
A wine costs 4-10 CHF or more per glass. Coca-Cola and beer cost about 4-6 CHF. You might also pay for tap water, depending on the location. It will be a few francs.
In most cases, service and tax are included in menu prices, so you don’t necessarily have to tip the waiter, as it’s in the US, for example. That said, nothing says against leaving a few francs if you are satisfied with the service.
Lunch menus are always cheaper than dinner ranging from 25 CHF to 30 CHF. In the evening, you will pay between 20 and 50 CHF for an “à la carte” main course. If you want to eat more cheaply, fast-food, snack bars, takeaways, to-go meals from supermarkets, or restaurants in department stores are good options.
Cheapest meals in Switzerland
If your goal is to save money while eating out in Switzerland, here are some tips.
Soups are available in restaurants throughout the country. It’s one of the most filling and affordable meals you will find on a Swiss menu. Some of the most common soups in Switzerland include barley soup, carrot soup, pumpkin soup, flour soup, noodle soup, and several cream soups.
A soup usually costs about 8-12 CHF and is served with bread. It’s by far the lowest price you will see in a Swiss restaurant.
Takeaways and ready-to-go meals from supermarkets are popular among Swiss and locals. The prices are significantly lower than for sit-down meals. Besides, you can get pretty much everything to go, from salads to burritos or sushi.
Yet, Switzerland doesn’t have as many takeaway options as you might be used to in other countries. Switzerland’s most popular takeaway option is kebab, sandwich, or pizza.
Kebabs are usually run by immigrants and are some of the most affordable options out there. You can see prices starting from 9 CHF.
Pizza will cost anything between 18-28 CHF for 30cm. For Asian food, expect to pay more than for a kebab, something between 18-25 CHF per dish. Even Swiss villages have kebabs and Asian takeaways.
Good news for vegetarians – no meat options are available at most Swiss restaurants and are more affordable than meals with meat.
Most menus include salads, plain rösti (no speck/bacon), and cheesy pasta. You can expect to pay between 15-25 CHF per dish instead of 28-35 CHF for meat options.
Cost of visiting Switzerland
If you are visiting Switzerland and want to keep your expense under control, be prepared to spend between 200 – 250 CHF per person per day.
Budget travelers can get away with less, but still, the threshold is nothing close to “budget” in other places; the average daily cost for a savvy traveler In Switzerland is 80 – 100 CHF. The travel costs include food, accommodation, local transport, and attractions.
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