Cotonou - Post Report Question and Answers

How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Erevan Supermarket has European imports at moderate to high prices. We can get things like corn flakes and brie cheese, but the costs add up. There is a small gluten-free section. Local produce is limited compared to the US and seasonal, but also very high quality. Local paper products are inexplicably expensive or poor. - Feb 2020

A good number of stores with almost unlimited supplies, though somewhat expensive and occasionally supplies run low. Cotonou is lucky enough to have a huge hypermarket alongside embassy housing. - Aug 2018

Local goods are cheap, imports are expensive. - Jan 2017

Expensive imports are available from France and a few other countries. Local foods are a limited range - except that there is a good variety of vegetables available in the local markets. - Oct 2015

If you buy most of your groceries at the large supermarkets, the cost is high. You can save a lot by buying all of your produce and basic supplies locally. - Jun 2015

Availability of most non-standard items can be spotty. For instance, you can get soy milk at Erevan, but if you need it and it's there, you better buy a lot because there's no telling when it will be re-stocked. If there are particular products you like, and you have ways to get them from outside the country, you should stock up early. - Aug 2014

Erevan is the big supermarket here: you can buy clothes, toys, school/working supplies right along with your groceries. There's even a bookstore and clothing store inside. Kinda feels like you're stepping into America (add to the scene Katie Perry, Usher, and Rhianna blaring from the speakers). Many items here are costly (soda, alcohol, cheese, frozen meats). Other smaller stores carry similar items for much cheaper. - Jul 2013

If you eat like a local, you can eat very cheaply. If you want to eat like you would in the U.S., it will cost you. Decent chicken and beef are available at the nicer grocery stores, but more expensive than back home. Seafood at the local fish market is comparable to U.S. prices, maybe slightly cheaper. Fruits and veggies are, however, very affordable. The most delicious pineapple you will ever eat costs about 30 cents, for instance. Mangos and avocados are also great. You can get a few American brands if you are willing to pay ($20 for a box of Special K, for instance), but you can find French equivalents for much cheaper prices. Still, expect to spend more on groceries than you would back home unless you only eat local cuisine. - May 2013

Expensive, more than 25% more than D.C. for Western products. French products are common here. U.S. products are not. - Mar 2013

Expensive. Everything is imported, mostly from France, so most all of the brands are French. The U.S. Embassy has a consumables allowance. Take advantage of it. - Dec 2011

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