If you have just moved to Austria and are living in Vienna, my biggest tip to every newcomer to the country is to make sure you do most of your grocery shopping at Hofer — a chain supermarket with the cheapest prices in Vienna.
Vienna’s Hofer supermarket is one of the best I have ever shopped
Anyone in Vienna who knows me knows my favorite store is the Austrian supermarket chain Hofer. So much so, I now do 95% of my grocery shopping there. Every week.
One of the main Austrian discount supermarkets, Hofer has exceptionally good quality products, cheap prices and, for me, stocks just about all the food, cleaning supplies, toiletries and other sundries that I need.
In fact, when anyone tells me they shop for their groceries anywhere else but Hofer in Vienna, I am always a bit amazed. As not only is Hofer one of the cheapest supermarkets in Vienna, I think it is also the best.
(*If you have Aldi supermarkets in your area, Aldi is the same company as Hofer — just branded with a different name here in Austria).
While Hofer does not sell many name brand products, but instead sells mainly its own brand items, the name brand products it does have tend to be cheaper than many other supermarkets.
In many cases, 10 to 20 percent cheaper.
That is why, if I am going to buy a name brand product at another supermarket and I know Hofer stocks it, I will usually check the price at Hofer first.
The last time I did that I saved over 3 euros, as the name brand product I had seen at another Vienna supermarket was that much more expensive.
As for Hofer’s own brand of food, toiletries and cleaning supplies they are so cheap that, when you compare them to a similar quality name brand product elsewhere, a saving of 20 to 30 percent is typical.
In most cases, they taste or look exactly the same as the name brand product as well.
Related reading: How to open an Austrian bank account in under half an hour
An average trip to a Hofer in Vienna has me buying food that lasts about a week and costs around 25-30 euros.
That means I spend 100-120 euros or so at Hofer every month for all the main staples I need — pasta, rice, beans, oats, cereals, cheese, fish, milk, eggs etc — plus a huge amount of fresh fruit and vegetables, snacks like potato chips and pretzels, and all my cleaning supplies as well as toiletries like shower gel.
I even throw in an occasional bar of chocolate.
The only thing I do not buy is meat, and that is simply because I am a vegetarian. I have checked the quality and prices of meat at Hofer in the past, however, and again it is cheaper than most other supermarkets in Vienna.
For an idea of what 20 euros can buy you at Hofer in Vienna, check out the large food haul I picked up last year right before Christmas. A food haul that cost me just over 19 euros.
That included butter, milk, organic yogurt, plums, apples, Christmas chocolate, salad, avocados, cream cheese, a six pack of Twix, German dark bread, soup, hummus and more.
You would think with the low prices Hofer offers, quality would be poor. In fact, the opposite is true.
Hofer spends time and money making sure the quality of the food and other products they sell is so good you always get your money’s worth.
That means you can pick up a large pepperoni pizza at Hofer for 79 cents or a loaf of sandwich bread for 89 cents, and the quality is always excellent.
In fact, in the four years I have been living in Vienna, I would guess I have bought and eaten at least 50 percent of all the products Hofer sells (I try something new every time I go) and only once have I not enjoyed the item I bought.
Even then, though, it was personal taste and not due to poor quality.
Hofer Bio/Organic Products
Hofer sells two main brands of organic products (or bio products, as the Austrians call them) .
Natur Activ is a German brand of organic food with more than 350 items in their range, including the vegan brand Just Veg! I have eaten around 50 of their products over the last year, and enjoyed every single one.
The second brand Zurück zum Ursprung (Back to the Origins) is another organic brand but one that concentrates mainly on Austrian products.
Products are made from local ingredients under sustainable conditions, and traditional ways of making them are the norm.
You can find out more about Zurück zum Ursprung on Hofer’s website, as there is a lot of information about their animal welfare practices, fairness to farmers and using Austrian feed that shows you just how high quality this brand is.
Just run it through Google Translate if you do not speak German and you will understand the gist.
If you like freshly baked goods, you can’t go wrong with Hofer either.
They make their own breads, cakes and pastries on the premises of each supermarket and they are all delicious. I specifically recommend their olive bread, their nut breads and their chocolate muffins, as well as their pretzels.
Hofer in Vienna has an excellent selection of seasonal products that come and go throughout the year and, by that, I don’t just mean the chocolate for Easter and the Christmas cookies.
Hofer also sells plants, gardening equipment, bed sheets, clothing and even computers and laptops at various times during the year. All are high quality, many are Hofer branded, and all are cheaper than similar name brand products for what you get.
My upcoming main purchase from Hofer’s seasonal products during the next few months?
A desktop computer that is massively more powerful than anything I have seen at a computer store in Vienna, particularly for the low price Hofer is charging.
Why I shop at Hofer
I am the type of shopper who is careful about where I shop.
I like to support moral, ethical companies that treat their customers and their employees well, that sell good quality products at an affordable price, that care about the environment and that contribute something worthwhile to the communities they are located in.
Hofer does all of these and more besides.
As I explained in an Instagram post recently (see below) there are so many good reasons to shop at Hofer supermarkets in Vienna, I honestly cannot ever see doing much shopping anywhere else.
View this post on Instagram
People ask me why I buy 95% of my food from @hoferat every month. For 4 reasons. 1) They are just about the cheapest place in Vienna (soooo freaking cheap), and I believe in not wasting money if I don't have to.💶 2) Much of what they sell is Hofer's own brand, particularly in organics, and they have strict requirements for their suppliers, so their products are high quality (and delicious!). 🍞🧀🍅 3) They sell many Austrian products, and I believe in 'Buy Austrian' where absolutely possible. (#❤AT) 4) They are big on the environment — so run projects on sustainability, including bee protection, energy efficiency, food waste, climate protection, as well as reading promotion programs for kids and healthy eating/exercise programs for everyone. 🌍😚 So, in my mind, the question should be "Why DON'T you shop at Hofer?" They're brilliant. 😙 #Hofer #Supermarkets #Food #Environment #Sustainability #Climate #EnergyEfficiency #Groceries #AustrianFood #Organic #Bio #NonGMO #Vegetarian #Wien #Vienna #Austria #BuyAustrian #IgersVienna #IgersAustria And, yep, that #AcidophilusMilk and the #FruchtMolke are the BOMB! 😋 #Milk #Milch #Molke 😊😄😋 ( Oh and if you're not in Austria, they are the same company as ALDI, which is equally as brilliant).
Disclaimer (don’t need one)
And again, when I write an article promoting a particular product or company, I will always tell you if I benefited from doing so.
And here, no, I did not.
Hofer did not pay me or ask me to promote their company. I just do so because, out of the hundreds of supermarket chains I have shopped at in my life, supermarket chains in at least 12 countries, I think Hofer is one of the best.
You will find branches of Hofer all over Vienna (they currently have over 480 locations in Austria and a heckuva lot in Vienna) — check out their website site locator to find one near you.
There are also several recipe videos from Hofer’s YouTube channel embedded throughout this website. It is well worth subscribing to their channel if you like easy-to-make recipes, as they have excellent videos of dishes that are fast and easy to make and with all the ingredients obtainable at Hofer.
My only complaint about Hofer? I wish they had an English version of their website.