German Shopping Cooperative (Zurich)

Btw when you buy in Germany, you can get the “global blue” form from the shop, which will let you reclaim 70% of the VAT difference between Germany and Switzerland. So for example if you make a purchase worth 1000 CHF net, plus the 19% VAT in Germany (190 CHF). You bring this global blue form to their counter in Zurich, they will give you back 70% of 190 CHF (133 CHF), keeping 30% for themselves as profit.

Caution: when you are coming back to Switzerland, you are required to declare these goods and pay the Swiss VAT, if the value of the purchase exceeds 300 CHF. Of course, there are many border crossings where nobody will even stop you and check, but it’s illegal.

I’m not entirely sure if what I wrote here is 100% accurate, but I reclaimed the tax once, around 100 CHF.

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So as promised, below are some of the prices we found in Germany, followed by the prices I have found in Lidl Switzerland :

Meat :

  • chicken legs : 2.54 EUR/kg vs 7.2 CHF/kg
  • mixed ground meat : 3.99 EUR/kg vs 12,1 CHF/kg
  • beef “ragout” : 9,78 EUR/kg vs 18,7 CHF/kg

Vegetables :

  • Potatoes : 0.65 EUR/kg vs 1,47 CHF/kg

  • carrots : 0.7 EUR/kg vs 1.25 CHF/kg

  • Salad : 0.79 EUR/kg vs 1.39 CHF/kg

  • Broccoli : 2.38 EUR/kg vs 4 CHF/kg

  • Pepperoni : 2.58EUR/kg vs 3.58 CHF/kg

  • bananas : 1.09 EUR/kg vs 1.49 CHF/kg

  • diapers : 0.2 EUR/piece vs 0.38 CHF/piece

So in general, vegetables and meat are very sensibly cheaper in germany. Note that surprisingly the quality seemed higher in Germany and the vegetables fresher. So overall it can be a good idea to go there and do your groceries for the week.

On the other hand, some items have the same price than in Switzerland, for instance :

  • olive oil
  • nuts
  • cheese

One final note about transportation. We calculated that the round trip ZRH<->Jestetten costs around 10 CHF in gas (we were two persons, so 5 CHF each). One other aspect i wanted to check was if crossing the border would take a lot of time (I have heard horror stories), but in our case, it was little country roads and we hardly even notice crossing the border.


Thanks for the data. Did you ever try supplying your data to Numbeo? It’s a cool site. You can even provide your own basket of goods and it will provide you a price index for the whole World. Do the prices from the link align with your experience? According to it, groceries in Konstanz are 58% cheaper than in Zurich.

although i too look on the prices, this is a point where i am not convinced anymore that the chickens are “produced” anymore in any reasonable way. In terms of the mustachian ideals of a sustainable lifestyle i doubt this is a mustachian choice

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They are both grown the same industrial way, but just for 5 Fr/kg more they’ll slap a big red swiss flag on the package for you, that’s basically the only difference

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This is not entirely true. The standard “yellow” cheeses (like Gouda, Edam or Emmentaler) are usually cheaper.

Additionally, it’s worth to mention that we went to dm-drogerie markt. Pampers are cheaper in Lidl, but many cleaning articles, cosmetics or baby food are cheaper in DM - I usually buy shampoos, shower gels, and a bunch of other “chemical” stuff + baby food.

You can probably buy better quality in Germany for a similar price as poor quality in Switzerland.

Just my 2c:

mixed Ground meat: I’ve never bought it for more than 9chf/kg here in Switzerland. Maybe you should check where you buy it and when. Or maybe it depends on the mix. It’s not 50/50 (and it shouldn’t be according to some recipes).

Olive Oil: Next time you want ot enjoy the sun and some queue at the Gotthard Tunnel, go to Italy. There is a ton of different type of olive oil, some suspiciously cheap as well :slight_smile: I tend to go there and buy some hight quality oil for less than 7 EUR.

Funny note about cheese: Sometimes you can find Swiss cheese in Italy that’s actually cheaper than here.

Ladies and Gents, I’m planning an excursion into German Lidl in November. Anyone interested? What date suits you best?

Count me in :slight_smile: A Saturday preferably.

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Perfect! Any Saturday?

I’d be happy to join if there is a free seat. More for the company than the saving potential :stuck_out_tongue:

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Sure, I’m glad to take you both and enjoy your company. I have 4 seats free, so 2 more people can join. :slight_smile:

Hello guys! Me and @Julianek are going to German Lidl this Saturday morning from Zug/Zurich. Anybody would like to join?

Ping @Bojack, @nugget

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thanks for pinging!
ill be on the top of the alps on saturday :slight_smile:have phun!

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Has anyone claimed back VAT from their foreign groceries?

I haven’t but friend of mine told me that it’s easy at the border.

Hi, one way to reclaim VAT is to

  1. request an “Ausfuhrschein” at the German store (quite common if near border)
  2. get a stamp on that piece of paper by the German customs (showing B or C permit)
  3. pay the Swiss VAT at the Swiss customs if you’re exceeding 300chf/person/day
  4. collect the German VAT by handing in the stamped ausfuhrschein in the same store the time you go there (i think it’s valid for one year)

It’s bit of hassle so worth if one goes regularly to the same store.

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Mind that (most) groceries are only taxed at a reduced VAT rate of 7% by Germany.

So you won’t be getting as much refunded as for other luxury items: just 6.54€ per 100€ worth of groceries. Drinks are, as far as I know, a notable exception from the 7%, but are less attractive to purchase in greater quantities (German bottle deposit, limited duty-free allowances on alcohol, sometimes less expensive in CH anyway, and milk is only 7%).

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I think that’s for food. If you buy household things or clothes, it should be higher.

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We can discuss this controversy on our way from Zurich to Lottstetten on Saturday, if you’re interested. We have still three places in the car.

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