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My Field Trip to a Swiss Supermarket

Field Trip to a Swiss Supermarket

Today, we take a trip to the local supermarket. These photos are taken in two separate stores (Coop & Migros), but they are similar. This is an average size store. I took pictures of things I thought were different and interesting.

Insert 1 Franc for the cart:

Field Trip to a Swiss Supermarket


Bag up your produce and use the scale to weigh it:

Field Trip to a Swiss Supermarket


Fresh cheese:

Field Trip to a Swiss Supermarket


Dairy: Yogurt, cheese and milk!

Field Trip to a Swiss Supermarket


But wait, there's more...

Field Trip to a Swiss Supermarket


Apples and potatoes (Härdöpfel or "earth apples") are very important to the Swiss diet:

Field Trip to a Swiss Supermarket


Raclette fixings and octopus:

Field Trip to a Swiss Supermarket


Bottled water: Most is sparkling (the default is always sparkling)

Field Trip to a Swiss Supermarket


Meat for fondue chinoise:

Field Trip to a Swiss Supermarket


Most of these chips are actually paprika flavored:

Field Trip to a Swiss Supermarket


And this entire isle is for chocolate:

Field Trip to a Swiss Supermarket


And now, join us for another trip to a Swiss grocery store!


An American expat, mom, people watcher, and "The Sound of Music" enthusiast who loves to "climb every mountain" in her spare time.


  • Hi Brittany,
    Nice post! I am more of a Coop House Husband myself because it sells beer! But I use Migros own brand more for its cleaning stuff & chocolate etc. Hey cool how you have a photo of the Coop Octopus It makes a great Octopus & “Earth” Apple salad! (English translation for the Swiss German word for potato, can’t say I have ever heard it being called a “stove apple” before ;-) I think you have mixed up Erde mit Herd
    Best regards

  • Hi Fergus! Thanks for your observant eye and explanation regarding the Swiss potato ;-) We have made the correction, and the Härdöpfel shall forever be called “earth apple”!

  • Hi Brittany,
    Great post. Glad to read that I’m not the only person musing over grocery shops in Switzerland.

  • When I go to a new place, one of my favorite things to do is visit the supermarket. You learn so much from just perusing the shelves. I have enjoyed this activity ever since my first trip abroad at age 13.

  • Cool field trip!

    For me as a Swiss it would be very interesting to read what you found particular interesting or bewildering in Swiss supermarkets. (I can already assume from the pictures that the wide range of milk products and strange stuff like “fondue chinoise” must be astounding, but maybe there was something else?)

  • Everything here is what I found different or strange compared to an American supermarket. The weirdest thing had to be the octopus.

  • I know what you mean about the Octopus Brittany – It’s in the Swiss supermarkets because Switzerland has I lot of Italians living here especially in Winterthur and they love Octopus and so do I, Italian food is not just about pasta & pizzas ;-) My wife who is from Winterthur had a Grandfather who was a full blooded Italian!

  • Thanks for the article! After two years away from my home Switzerland I kind of forgot how our supermarkets look like… And I have to admit the bread and cheese section look so tempting!!

  • I’ve been here five years now, and there have been two major supermarket-based developments in that time: my local shop now takes credit cards and, thank heavens, they stock Salt ‘n Vinegar crisps. Life couldn’t be sweeter.

  • Is it really an island in the store (you had to cross a moat?) just for chocolate, or is it actually an aisle?

  • This is exactly what I’ve been looking for. I’m writing a book about my life in Switzerland from 1975 to 1979 and I am comparing the stores from my youth (60s and 70s) to the stores I came across as a young adult when I married a Swiss. Your comment about “The Sound of Music,” is particularly relevant. Even though it’s actually based in Austria, I always fantasized about visiting the Alps made famous by the movie. Moving to Switzerland was a dream come true for me.

    • Thanks so much for this meaningful comment, John! I am glad our content helps you with your research. Feel free at any time to reach out if you need more information on contemporary stores/shopping experiences…

      • Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind. I lived and worked in and around Geneva, so most of my research is of that area, but I am also interested in the nuclear bomb shelters that existed (so I was told) inside the Swiss Alps themselves back at that time. It was my understanding that in the event of an all out nuclear war, the entire Swiss population could be placed inside certain mountains within 48 hours and these shelters had provisions for up to 5 years. That was during the height of the Cold War and impressed the heck out of me. If you have any info I could use, I’d definitely appreciate it.

      • Thanks. That helps somewhat. Over the years, I think the focus has changed. When I lived there, people talked a lot about going to Valais and inside the mountain. I even seem to remember seeing a 5-storey steel door opening up once. The discussion didn’t center around shelters in the basement as much as it seems to now. But you have given me good info, thanks.


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