Are Groceries Cheaper in Florida than Ontario?


All my life I’ve heard the stories about how much cheaper everything is in Florida than Ontario.  On our recent trip to Florida, I decided to see if that was really true.

In restaurants, I thought the prices were on par with Ontario but in US dollars which made them actually about 25% more expensive.  Comparing restaurant prices is difficult since prices vary so much from one location to another even within the same province or state.

However, groceries were a bit easier to figure out.  Before we went to Florida, I made a list of what I would consider fairly common grocery items that travellers would buy.

Bananas, Ground Beef, Chicken, Eggs, Milk, Butter, OJ, Coffee, Peanut Butter, Bread

And, then I added a few “luxury” items.

Vodka, Bailey’s (my favourite), Beer (Al’s favourite)

And what did I find?

Basically, grocery prices are all over the map but in the end, they more or less average out with Florida being a bit cheaper (13% for my “grocery basket”).  Vodka and beer were definitely cheaper in Florida but Bailey’s was just a touch cheaper in Ontario.  At the bottom of this post, I’ve included a table that gives you the details of what I found out, including my calculations.

One item I hadn’t considered before I went was Coffee Crisp.  For those of you not familiar with Coffee Crisp, it’s a type of chocolate bar that is easily found in Ontario and no so common in the US.  I only included it on my list below because I found it in the international aisle at the grocery store and was curious to see how the pricing would stack up.  As expected, it was considerably less expensive in Ontario.

Before you look at the details, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Florida pricing for groceries and beer is from Publix in Destin; alcohol pricing from the liquor store next door.
  • Ontario pricing for groceries is from Loblaws in Lindsay.  I would consider Publix and Loblaws to be comparable quality stores.  Beer pricing is from the Beer Store; alcohol pricing from the LCBO.  If you’re unfamiliar with Ontario, the Beer Store and the LCBO are our most common places to buy those items.  It’s just recently that some grocery stores have started selling beer.
  • Yes, I know Publix and Loblaws aren’t cheap grocery stores but I think as long as I used comparable stores that’s what counts.
  • I only used regular prices.  No sales, no coupons.
  • An exchange rate of $1.25 Cdn to $1.00 US is used.
  • I tried to used comparable sized packages but didn’t do the calculations to make this an exact comparison.  Remember this is a travel blog; not an economics report.
  • I apologize that the table isn’t as pretty as it could be but I’m still trying to get the hang of WordPress.
Florida and Ontario Grocery Basket Pricing -- December 2017
Ontario Difference    
US $Cdn $Cdn $US $
Bananas, price per pound$0.69$0.86$0.69$0.5525%
Lean Ground Beef, price per pound$6.09$7.61$6.49$5.1917%
Chicken Breasts, bone-in, skin-on, price per pound$3.29$4.11$4.99$3.99-18%
Eggs (large size, price per dozen)$2.19$2.74$2.49$1.9910%
Milk (4L Canada, 64 oz USA)$2.60$3.25$4.27$3.42-24%
Butter, price per pound$4.06$5.08$6.69$5.35-24%
Orange Juice (Tropicana, 1.65L Canada, 1.75L US)$3.99$4.99$5.49$4.39-9%
Coffee (Maxwell House, 326g Canada, 297g USA)$4.15$5.19$7.99$6.39-35%
Peanut Butter ( Jif, 500g Canada; Skippy, 16oz USA)$3.07$3.84$5.49$4.39-30%
Sliced White Bread$2.05$2.56$1.79$1.4343%
Grocery Basket Total$32.18$40.23$46.38$37.09-13%
Grey Goose Vodka (750ml)$29.99$37.49$49.95$39.96-25%
Bailey's Irish Cream (750ml)$23.99$29.99$28.95$23.164%
Coors Light, price per can (18 pack)$1.10$1.38$1.97$1.58-30%
Coffee Crisp$1.75$2.19$1.19$0.9584%

I hope you find this information useful when you’re planning a trip to either Florida or Ontario.  Keep an eye out later this year for similar pricing from Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico.

Happy travels!


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