There Are No Baby Carrots in New Zealand

Lexi Ross
August 22, 2019

The food situation at my home university is a bit odd in comparison to the “average” American school. We don’t have dining halls, meaning that every night you are either eating out or cooking. Because of this, I have grown fairly accustomed to doing a weekly grocery run and almost look forward to it. Little did I know this practice would come in handy when I came to Christchurch for the semester, as we don’t use a dining hall either.

Ready to go with my weekly shopping list that I used in D.C. and my very limited cooking knowledge, I headed to Pak n’ Save my first full weekend in Christchurch. While New Zealand isn’t too culturally different from the U.S., I still hit a couple of road blocks in the supermarket aisles, while also finding some unexpected positives.

Here is a short list of what I have learned so far about the food situation down under:

1. As the title of this blog suggests, baby carrots do not exist in New Zealand. Back home I would easily eat two packs a week (along with a hefty tub of hummus) as my go-to snack. Now when I want to snack, I look like Bugs Bunny chomping on giant carrots. No one ever tells you this, but eating a whole carrot is a commitment, those things are huge and weirdly filling. Good thing they sell 1 kg tubs of hummus to go with!

2. There is no turkey here! I am not the biggest red meat eater (hurts my stomach and also the beef industry = methane pollution!), so I normally substitute turkey for beef. When I went to the store to stock up on ingredients for my classic (and way-too-often-made) burrito bowls, I was left pacing the meat aisle. Turns out those annoying birds that stand in the middle of the road back home don’t really live down here!

3. You gotta keep your bread in the fridge. I learned this one the hard way my first week here. I love nothing more than a warm piece of peanut butter toast for breakfast (unpopular opinion: crunchy peanut butter rules), so on morning four after buying my loaf of bread I was crushed to find it covered in mold. Don’t make my mistake, put it right in the fridge!!

4. On the other hand: eggs don’t go in the fridge. Not sure of the science behind it but apparently companies in the U.S. clean a layer of something off the egg that makes us need to refrigerate, while in NZ they leave it on so you can just leave it out.

5. One of my favorite things I have found in the produce section is a brand called “The Ugly Bunch.” Basically, they sell large bags of produce for cheap because they look a little funny. Everything is still totally safe to eat, but it doesn’t look “ideal” enough to chuck on the shelf at full price. This helps to reduce food waste which is always a plus!

6. TIM. TAMS. That is the most important cookie you will ever need here (sorry Cookie Time). Think like a KitKat crossed with an Oreo and sprinkles with fairy dust. That is how good they are.

7. New Zealand has some of the best breakfast cereals EVER. Huge selection of brands that vary from almost dessert to super filling and healthy.

Fun Fact: A box of Lucky Charms will run you about $13 NZ here, so yeah. None of that.

8. Whitakers chocolate bars are amazing. I eat at least a row of their dark chocolate every night before bed.

9. You will not get far into an ice cream aisle without seeing Hokey Pokey ice cream. A New Zealand staple, definitely worth a try!

10. The whole sale areas here are amazing. They give you free reusable bags that you can bring back each week and refill. They have literally dozens of different kinds of trail mixes, dried fruit, crackers, candy, and anything else you could think to scoop into a bag. Every week I try something new, and it has yet to disappoint!

11. On the topic of reusable bags: BRING THEM! New Zealand has a no-free plastic bag policy, and this isn’t like in the states where some cities make you pay a few extra cents and go about your day for not bringing your own bags. Literally everyone here brings bags, and if you have to buy a plastic one you get a lot of dirty looks. Plus, getting a plastic bag is about $.50 and a cheap reusable bag is $1, so there is no reason to use plastic!

I definitely miss a few things from home (namely Oreos, turkey, and baby carrots), but all in all I am definitely enjoying the New Zealand grocery scene!

All the Love


P.S. They sell Ben and Jerry’s here, thank goodness!

Lexi Ross

<p>Hi! My name is Lexi and I am a junior spending my semester abroad at the University of Canterbury. Although my home university is in a city, I absolutely love being outdoors! Some of my favorite activities are hiking (especially with dogs), swimming in lakes, and trail running. I can't wait to explore the beautiful South Island of New Zealand and share some of my adventures!</p>

Home University:
George Washington University, The
Needham, MA
African Studies
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