• Why are imported foods so expensive?
  • Why are imported foods so expensive?

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  1. #1
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    Why are imported foods so expensive?

    I wanted to get some stuff for my husband from the UK and all the stores online that do import goods to the US charge anywhere from 30 to 70% more than the actual cost. That is insane. Like something that would cost 50 pence in the UK is $3 here. I tried looking around too and very few shops offer much. It is very frustrating. It seems like it would be easier just to have some family ship stuff to us but the shipping is apparently very expensive. Do you notice this in your area?

  2. #2
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    As a Brit living in Mexico this is something I have to deal with a lot. It's frustrating but I am happy to pay over the odds for stuff from back home on occasions just as a treat. It's nice to have some home comforts especially when it's impossible to visit home at the moment.

    When I last saw my family they gave me a load of chocolate and other stuff, but it didn't last long!

    They sell McVities chocolate digestives over here now, that's the latest thing I paid for.
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  4. #3
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    Grocery stores and online retailers alike overcharge because they can. Imported food is often seen as a valuable commodity that's hard to get, so people will pay the price if they want it enough. I've imported various food and drinks. (This includes a subscription box service that sent snacks from a different country every month.) None of these were cheap. Worth it? Ehh, maybe.

    My recommendation is to look for an online food importer and keep an eye on their clearance section. If you're patient enough you'll often be able to pay far less.

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  6. #4
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    A lot of people view imported food (and other imported items) as luxurious and as a status symbol. Retailers know this, and they sell at a markup because there exists a certain class of buyers, people who will pay more for whatever they see as luxurious. Italian sports cars, French wines, etc. People put a lot of value into these things, so sellers charge them more to emphasize that quality.
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  8. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by OutlawBard19 View Post
    A lot of people view imported food (and other imported items) as luxurious and as a status symbol. Retailers know this, and they sell at a markup because there exists a certain class of buyers, people who will pay more for whatever they see as luxurious. Italian sports cars, French wines, etc. People put a lot of value into these things, so sellers charge them more to emphasize that quality.
    This makes a lot of sense. I buy these Italian cookies at a local Italian owned shop and they are not cheap. Come to find they are so easy to make that I could actually make 10 times the amount for the same price if I make them myself. Same ingredients too. Nuts! I guess it is different when you are aware of the prices in different countries. It just seems like such a scam.

  9. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by KorinKitty View Post
    import goods to the US charge anywhere from 30 to 70% more than the actual cost. That is insane.
    Quote Originally Posted by KorinKitty View Post
    shipping is apparently very expensive.
    You answered your own question! Have you ever wondered why even domestic beer (or soda if you prefer) costs as much as it does? The ingredients are actually dirt-cheap, but they need to be shipped to a manufacturing plant, the metal & glass for cans/bottles need to be shipped (metal and glass are heavy) then after you fill the heavy metal/glass containers with liquid you ship them again across the country. The actual glass & sugar water or alcohol is cheap, but all that shipping, paying truckers/pilots, fuel, taxes, etc. creates the price you see at the store.

    When we're talking about the international scale, you can expect that to multiply. A plane can't hold very much when you think about it. You're paying a premium to compete for that cargo space vs everyone else. If you want to ship something that weighs a few pounds, then that's a rather significant portion of that plane's capacity.

    It sucks, but it all makes sense at least. It's certainly not insane.

    (flights are really cheap right now. consider going to the UK and filling up your luggage with whatever you want to bring home! United Airlines allows 2 50lb check-in bags per passenger. You can add another 50lb bag for ~$50 - 75). For a few hundred bucks you can skip over the pond to the UK and bring back ~150 lbs of whatever you want.
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