Supermarkets in Saint Petersburg: Where’s best to shop?
When moving to a new country, wherever it may be, one of the first noticeable changes is the cuisine. Eating out in Russia is extremely cheap, but after a month of non-stop restaurants and cafes, I was keen to cook some meals myself. In a search for some familiarity, I looked through some of my favourite recipes from home, and planned some meals I wanted to try to cook. However, when shopping for ingredients in Russia, I have found that different supermarkets cater for varying needs, with varying standards and prices. After a couple of months of grocery shopping, I have finally worked out which supermarkets to go to for what.
Directly opposite Liden & Denz school (and also right next to my flat), you will find the supermarket ‘Dixy’. This is a chain of discount Russian supermarkets, which was initially founded in 1992, in Saint Petersburg. It is Russia’s third largest food retail company. Across the whole of Russia (but mainly Moscow and St. Petersburg), there are 2,537 Dixy stores. So, you shouldn’t struggle to find one while you’re here. In general, Dixy tends to serve lower income areas, due to its low prices. Indeed, the quality tends to be slightly lower than products from more high-end shops, so it depends what you are looking for.
X5: Perekrestok/Перекресток and Pyaterochka/Пятерочка
Another very common supermarket is Perekrestok, which is Russia’s largest supermarket chain. It was founded in 1995, and offers a large selection of products, with mid-range pricing (slightly higher than Dixy). It is owned by the Russian food retailed X5 Group, who also owns Pyaterochka. This is similar to Perekrestok, with slightly lower prices, founded in 1999. These supermarkets are both good options, but ones which I haven’t used much, just because there aren’t any very near to where I live.
Azbuka Vkusa/Азбука Вкуса
If you are missing products from home, and looking for more high-end options, Azbuka Vkusa is the place to head to. This is the most expensive supermarket in Russia, since they import specific Western products. Their name literally means ‘A to Z of taste’, and they indeed cater for a wider variety of tastes. First launched in 1997, the brand is renowned for its high quality products. Furthermore, they now have a partnership with Yandex Eats (an online delivery service), so you can order their products directly to your house. There is one located at the bottom of the Nevsky Centre, next to Ploshad Vosstania.
Another high-end, but high-priced supermarket is Vkus Vill. They aim to offer fresh and healthy food, with a focus on local, natural ingredients. The company aims to source products from local Russian farmers, and process and package them themselves (or alternatively buy in bulk from abroad then repackage locally), in order to ensure quality control. 95% of in-store goods are domestically and locally sourced. The store offers a range of products, including basic necessities, ready-made dinners, or coffees and pastries from a small in-store deli. They also launched a store card program, which offered a discount to people who buy more than 30 different foods each month. This aimed to encourage people to eat a more diverse diet. There is a store located 5 minutes away from Liden & Denz, on the way to Ploshad Vosstania.
So, if you are wondering where to buy your groceries while here, I hope that this crash course will help you decide where to go based on your needs and preferences.
By Alice, currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz in Saint Petersburg