The American Shelf, when you’re outside of America

Posted on 08.12.2013


1441233_629791790850_1547879336_nI’ve been in quite a few different countries, and the thing that always amuses me is the American aisle in the grocery stores.

First and foremost, it is always situated right between Mexico and Asia, which is great for me, since I eat Asian and Mexican food most often. The most amusing part is exactly HOW unhealthy most of the shelves are. This photo features THREE SHELVES OF CANDY. Highly overpriced, but at least I can get a Tootsie Roll or Butterfinger if I really want one.

I’m trying to work out in my head whether these shelves are meant to service Americans who may be living overseas, or natives who went to America, had a ton of this stuff, and want it all the time now, but can’t get anything like it in the native country. I am leaning towards the first option being the winner, because I know for a fact that most Germans really can’t understand the American love of peanut butter… so the fact that it is available on the shelf could only possibly be because too many American expats walked in and asked for it.

At one point, I DID take a photo of the American shelf in my local German grocery stores. I don’t know where that photo is now… but those shelves were mostly full of BBQ sauce, mac n cheese, marshmallows and buttered microwave popcorn. And Mexican food products. It must have been the continental ‘North America’ shelf, rather than the typical country segments.

Most recently, I’ve been spending a lot of time in English grocery stores, and every time I walk by, I notice something different. Not exactly what is there, since I have this helpful photo to refer back to if I can’t remember something… but I’m continually shocked by what can only be considered a really steep import tax. The family sized box of mac n cheese was 4.60 (this is pounds, not dollars, mind you… that’s INSANE), the egg nog near the bottom was over 6 pounds for that package, and the A1 sauce was just over 5 pounds. I made myself a steak the other night for dinner, and I opted for the much more local and accessible Lea + Perrin’s Worcestershire sauce.

On the upside, I don’t have to murder any pumpkins this year, since this country actually imports pumpkin puree. Thanks for that!

I’ll definitely be taking photos of the American aisle in Japan once we arrive, don’t you worry:) For now, it seems that I have finally learned my way around the Tesco. Just as I’m about to leave it. In other news, I made an amazing cheesecake the other night. 🙂