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Food prices in the UAE


Page update - Sep 15, 2022

The UAE is considered as one of the most expensive countries to live in. Is it true? How high are grocery prices in the UAE? How much do vegetables, fruit, cereals, meat, milk cost there? Where to go for groceries? How not to overpay? Read the answers on this page.

The prices on this page were updated in September 2022. Over the past six months, prices in stores have risen. For some products, prices have gone up to +50%. We think that the reasons for these price increases are obvious to readers without us. But Arab economists have estimated that inflation in the UAE will be 3.7% at the end of 2022. See the current prices below on this page.

The first important point! We will give you prices in local dirhams as supermarket price tags will have prices in dirhams. See the current exchange rates on the page "Money in the UAE".

The second important point! Food prices are almost independent of the emirate. In Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman and other emirates the prices are about the same. Prices only vary from supermarket to supermarket.

Is food expensive in the UAE?

Almost all food in the UAE is imported. Only fish and seafood are plentiful in the country. Most of the UAE is a desert area, only dates grow well there and only in the oases. UAE dates are some of the best in the world, read our review "Dates in the UAE".

Full-fledged agriculture is practiced only in the north in the foothills in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. But the amount of agricultural production is miserable, and it is not enough to feed all the emirates.

Approximately, the average food set in the UAE is cheaper than in the UK, the US, or Western Europe countries. But it is more expensive than in India and other Oriental countries.

However, do not forget that the food set of the inhabitants of the UAE are different from the common european set. If you can adapt to their diet, the "food basket" will cost you 20-25% less.

Where to buy food products?

Find the nearest large mall, there are a lot of them in the UAE, especially in Dubai. Each mall has a large supermarket, most often Carrefour. There is always a wide variety of goods, low prices and special offers, which allows you to save a lot of money.

As in most countries, you can get a booklet with a list of current promotions and discounts at the entrance. Discounts can be as much as 60%. Here are examples from the Carrefour discount catalog - page 1 and page 2.

If you buy groceries for the family at least for a few days, the low prices in the supermarkets are more than enough to pay for a cab ride to the mall. For the cab fares see our page "Taxi cabs in the UAE".




Food Prices




Bread and bakery

Bread in the UAE is expensive compared with other Middle East and most of continental European countries. For continental Europeans the price of bread may cause the false feeling that the food prices in the UAE are astronomical. But for the US and the UK people the prices seem low.

A loaf of bread 400 grams - AED 4-6.

Arab flatbread 500 grams - AED 5-7.

Cheese flatbread (or cheese and herbs) - AED 6-8.

Pita (4 pieces in a pack) - AED 4-5.

Over the past year (2021), locally produced pastries have become slightly cheaper in supermarkets, especially in Carrefour. This is probably the result of orders going online because of the coronavirus. On the Internet, comparing prices is always easier, and therefore the competition becomes harder.

If you want you can find buns, Lebanese or Arab bread for 2-3 dirhams for 400 or 500 grams. There are such offers in supermarkets, you only need to "dig" on the shelves of the bread departments.

The main form of bread in the UAE is flatbread, which is preferred by both local Arabs and guest workers from India, Pakistan, Iran, Egypt, etc. The second most popular form is a loaf. Familiar to many Europeans, French baguettes are not found in every store.

UAE residents consume very little bread. On average, 49 lbs (22.2 kilo) per person per year. By comparison, the average French eats 126 lbs (57 kilo), the average German eats 123 lbs (55.8 kilo) a year. Hence the relatively high prices of bread and bakery products in the UAE.



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Vegetables

Potatoes - AED 3-4 per kilo.

Carrots - AED 4-5.5.

Onions - AED 3 to 10, depending on species and origin.

Beets - AED 4-6.

Tomatoes - AED 5 to 20 per kilogram, depending on variety and origin.

Cucumbers - AED 5-8.

Cabbage - AED 2-4, depends on variety.

Bell peppers - AED 8-10.

In 2020 and 2021, vegetables became much cheaper, especially tomatoes. The UAE is constantly increasing the volume of agricultural production, especially greenhouse vegetables - tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers. Local vegetables are the main driver of lower prices.

In supermarkets, vegetables are most often sold by weight. That is, you have to take a bag, put the vegetables into it, and weigh it on the scale nearby. But there are also packages. For example, it is much more profitable to buy potatoes in packs, and bell peppers are more expensive in packs.

Stock up on a calculator! If they sell packs, it's not customary there to write the price per kilo.

Vegetables labeled "organic" are very popular in the UAE. It is stated that these vegetables are grown without the use of inorganic fertilizers, without treatment with pesticides and other chemicals. The price for such vegetables is 2-3 times higher than for common vegetables.




Fruits

Stalls with fruits in the UAE supermarkets can be considered as an attraction because of the great variety of fruits. There are classic fruits of the Mediterranean - peaches, apricots, plums, and exotic fruits from India, Thailand, Vietnam - rambutans, mangosteens, longans, lychees. Even durians are on sale, despite the smell.

Many seasonal fruits are available almost all year round. For example, peaches and apricots come from Turkey or Egypt in the summer and Australia or South Africa in the winter. Unfortunately, prices vary from season to season.

We publish the summer prices when the harvest season comes to Southern Europe and North Africa. Prices at this time are minimal.

Apples - AED 6-15 per kilo, depending on the variety and origin.

Pears - 8-12.

Banana - 6-10.

Oranges - 5-7.

Plums - 14-20.

Apricots - 20-25.

Peaches - 14-20.

Watermelons - 3-4.

Grapes - 12-20, depending on variety and origin.

Like vegetables, fruits in the UAE are often sold with the label "organic", their price is 2-3 times higher.



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Meat and meat products

Beef (boneless) - AED 30-60 per kilo.

Lamb (boneless) - 45-70.

Chicken breast or thigh fillet - 20-30.

Thighs, shanks, legs, wings of chicken - 15-30.

For obvious religious reasons, there is usually no pork in supermarkets in the UAE. However, some supermarkets do have pork departments that are separate from the main meat department. Look for the "pork" sign.

Tourists are often amazed by the plenty of chopped meat burgers in UAE supermarkets. And indeed, people there love to have a barbecue and love burgers. And the price of burgers is rather low - from AED 25 per kilo, and frozen can be even cheaper.

If you want to save money on meat, you can take the meat with bones. It is much cheaper per kilogram of pure meat. Apparently, the UAE residents do not like to separate the bones by themselves.

Another option to save money is to buy frozen mincemeat, the price of which is AED 25-30 per kilo. There are sausages in the UAE, but it tastes different. The prices for salami or pepperoni are AED 60-80. The price for corned beef is AED 25-40 (if calculated price per kilo).




Milk, cheese and dairy products

Pasteurized milk - AED 5-7 per liter.

Butter - 40-60 per kilo.

Brynza, feta and similar soft white cheeses - 20-40 per kilo.

Semi-soft or hard cheese - 50-80 per kilo.

Yogurts - 1.5-2 per pack of 100 or 120 grams. If you buy big packages of 1 kilo and more the price can go down to 7 dirhams per kilo.

Cream - 25-50 per liter, depends on fat content.

As in many countries, the main dairy product in the UAE is yogurt. It can be found in a wide variety of package types and flavours. An Arabian milk drink "Leben" is very popular. Try it, maybe you will like it. The price is about AED 6 per liter.

Very common is "labneh" which is more commonly called "yogurt cheese", but it is more commonly called "greek yogurt" in some countries. The price is AED 15-25 per kilo. Sour milk products such as kefir, sour cream, and cottage cheese are not common in the UAE, but available in large supermarkets.

In the UAE, large supermarkets sell original European cheeses. DOP Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano - AED 130-170 per kilo. French Roquefort, Brie and Camembert - 150-200.

Camel milk and its products, even camel cheese, are for sale. Read more in our article "Camel Milk in the Arab Emirates".



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Side dishes

Pasta - AED 4-6 per 400 grams.

Rice - AED 6-12 per kilo, depending on variety and size of package.

Dried lentils - 9-12 per kilo.

Dried legumes - 5 to 15 per kilo, depends on the variety.

Couscous - 13-17 per kilo.

Dried chickpeas - 8-10 per kilo.

Undoubtedly, the main side dish for UAE residents is rice. In large stores, there is a huge variety on the shelves - more than a hundred varieties, from cheap Egyptian to expensive basmati and wild rice. They sell bags of 5, 10, 20 kilograms, and in Carrefour now there are even bags of 38 and 39 kilograms!

Lentils, chickpeas and other legumes in dried form are very popular. Canned ones are not so popular, but the assortment in the stores is decent, the price - from 3 dirhams for a can of 400 grams.

Some tourists ask, "Do they sell instant noodles in the UAE?" Of course they do! In the UAE, there is a full range of international brands: Indomie, Koka, Lucky Me, Nissin. Quick soups and Maggi noodles are also common. The price varies from AED 1.2 to AED 2 for a 70-80 gram bag, more expensive from 2.5 to 3.5 in plastic cups.




Other Products

Chicken eggs - AED 8.5-12 per dozen.

But eggs are rarely sold there by the dozen or tens, but usually in packs of 6, 15 or 30.

Cereals - 30-40 per kilo.

Sugar - 3.5-5 per kilo.

Baking flour - 4 to 10 per kg, depending on the variety.

Sunflower oil - 12-15 per liter.

Olive oil - 30-45 per liter.

Fresh fish - 5 to 100 per kilogram, depends on species.




Tips for tourists

- If you have come to the mall and don't have any dirhams, no need to worry. There are a few exchange offices in every mall and the exchange rates are usually good. Read our review "How to exchange money in the UAE";

- As the climate in the UAE is very hot, the shelf life of fruits and vegetables is lower. Try to choose only fruits with no flaws. Any tiny defect can turn into a rotten spot tomorrow, and the fruit will have to go in the trash;

- If you want to bring home some products, we strongly recommend you to read our review "What you can and can not take out of the UAE";

- If you want to save money and bring any products with you, then read our review "What you can and can not bring to the UAE".

- What other expenses await during the vacation, read on our page "How much money to take in the UAE".

Have a nice vacation in the United Arab Emirates, and read our interesting and useful for tourists pages about this country (see list of the pages below).

TIPS

Tips for Tourists in the UAE

IMPORTANT FOR TOURISTS

What to Take for the UAE

What You Should Not Do in the UAE

To the UAE with Kids

Sharks in the UAE

Weather in the UAE by Month

Holidays in the UAE

Are Unmarried Young Women
Allowed to Enter the UAE?

All-Inclusive in the UAE

Power Sockets & Voltage in the UAE

Hotels in the UAE with Own Beach

GENERAL INFORMATION

The UAE - Info, Facts, Figures

What Language is Spoken in the UAE

Population and Citizens of the UAE

History of the UAE

Flag of the UAE

Friday and Weekend in the UAE

Ramadan in the UAE

Sheikh Zayed - Father of Nation

Sheikhs of the UAE

GIFTS AND CUSTOMS LAW

What to Bring from the UAE

What You Can and Not Bring In the UAE

What You Can and Not Take Out the UAE

VAT Refund in the UAE

Shopping in the UAE - Why is Cheap

Date Fruits in the UAE

Camel Milk and Dairy Products

Bakhoor and Oud

MONEY AND EXPENSES

Money in the UAE - Emirati Dirham

Currency Exchange in the UAE

How Much Money to Take to the UAE

Food Prices in the UAE

Tourist Taxes in the UAE

Alcohol in the UAE

Cigarettes and Smoking in the UAE

Vape and iQos in the UAE

TRANSPORT

Dubai Metro - Fares and Map

Taxi in the UAE - Fares and Guide

NOL Transport Card Dubai

Dubai Tram

Dubai Monorail

Buses in the UAE

FROM AIRPORT TO CITY

From Dubai Airport (DXB) to City

From Al Maktoum Airport (DWC) to City

From Abu Dhabi Airport (AUH) to City

From Sharjah Airport (SHJ) to City

TRIPS BETWEEN EMIRATES

From Dubai to Abu-Dhabi

Free Buses Dubai - Abu-Dhabi

From Sharjah to Dubai

From Ras Al-Khaimah to Dubai

From Ajman to Dubai

From Fujairah to Dubai

From Umm Al-Quwain to Dubai

TELECOM

Internet in the UAE

Cheap Calls from the UAE

Free SIM-card in Dubai

UAE Phone Codes

EMIRATES

Dubai

Deira

Bur Dubai

Dubai Marina

Jumeirah

Downtown

TOP Attractions in Dubai

Beaches in Dubai

Abu Dhabi

Al Ain

Yas Island

Beaches in Abu Dhabi

Sharjah

Beaches in Sharjah

Ajman

Ras Al Khaimah

Umm Al Quwain

Fujairah

ATTRACTIONS IN THE UAE

Best Attractions in the UAE

Free Attractions in the UAE

DUBAI

Burj Khalifa

Dubai Fountain

Excursions in Dubai

How to Save on Entertainment in Dubai

DUBAI MALL

The Best in Dubai Mall

Dubai Aquarium

Candylicious in Dubai Mall

Waterfall in Dubai Mall

DUBAI DEIRA

Gold Market in Dubai

Al Mamzar Beach and Park

Deira Clock Tower

City Centre Deira Mall

JUMEIRAH DISTRICT

Burj Al Arab

Wild Wadi Water Park

Jumeirah Mosque

Dubai Marina Mall

Madinat Jumeirah

Jumeirah Beach

PALM JUMEIRAH

Aquaventure

The Lost Chambers

Dolphin Bay

Palm Fountains

The View at the Palm

DUBAI PARKS AND RESORTS

LEGOLAND

MOTIONGATE

LEGOLAND Water Park

BLUEWATERS ISLAND

Ain Dubai

Madame Tussauds

BUR DUBAI

The Dubai Frame

Dubai Dolphinarium

Al Fahidi Fort Museum

Museum of the Future

DUBAI - SOUTH-EAST

Global Village

Miracle Garden

Butterfly Garden

IMG Worlds of Adventure

MALL OF THE EMIRATES

Mall of the Emirates

Ski Dubai

ABU DHABI CITY

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Louvre Abu Dhabi

Emirates Palace

Observation Deck at 300

Sheikh Zayed Memorial

Heritage Village

Corniche Waterfront

Sir Bani Yas

YAS ISLAND

Ferrari World

Formula Rossa

Galleria Ferrari

Warner Bros Park

Yas WaterWorld

Yas Marina & Formula 1

Yas Mall

SHARJAH

Sharjah Fountains

Sharjah Aquarium

Museum of Islamic Civilization

Al Noor Mosque

Mega Mall

AJMAN

Ajman Fish Market

Ajman Fort and Museum

City Centre Ajman Mall

UMM AL QUWAIN

DreamLand Water Park

NATIONAL CUISINE

Emirati Cuisine - What to Taste

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