If you’re staying in Slovenia, there’s a likely chance you’d need to visit the supermarket. Whether you’re staying for days or months, an easy to access supermarket is super useful for you. So, what are the most common supermarkets in Slovenia?
Slovenia has a chain of several supermarkets available like Lidl, Hofer, Eurospin, Mercator, Spar, Tuš, and E.Leclerc. There are also other non-chain supermarket options, depending on where you are. The traditional Tržnica is there, together with BTC Ljubljana.
Are you looking to fill your grocery list in Slovenia? Here are the most common supermarkets in Slovenia and more places you can find your favorite foodstuff. Open up your maps, you’ll surely find one of these near you.
The Supermarket Culture in Slovenia
Before we look at the many supermarkets in Slovenia, we need to understand the food shopping culture in the country. From this, we’ll see how the locals do their shopping and what we can expect.
First, most of Slovenia has an outdoor food shopping tradition. Many of their groceries, especially their produce, come from the Tržnica. The Tržnica or open-air Central Market is a proud tradition in Ljubljana and Slovenia.
Even in smaller cities like Kranj and Maribor, the Tržnica is a favored destination to many locals. It carries many different food products, from meats to vegetables, to local food products. They even carry items such as woodwork and other trinkets.
After the Tržnica, many Slovenians like to go to their smaller local shops. Slovenia was a socialist republic for the longest time in its history. Many of its people relied on local shops to offer much of what they buy every day.
For example, many smaller towns and villages rely on a small, local artisanal shop to offer what they need. Most offer cheeses, meats, produce, stationery, and even small items that people would want. Some even have traditional Slovenian pastries that everyone would love.
In some cases, where a Tržnica is not available, small food stalls are available. Many of these follow standard regulations on food hygiene and safety. Even then, the choices are much more limited compared to your average cooperative.
Going Beyond The Open Air Market
Once Slovenians exhaust many of their local options, what comes next is usually big chain supermarkets. They offer many advantages compared to what your average Slovenian Tržnica has, which is easy to appreciate.
For starters, big chain supermarkets have a massive selection of food, drinks, and fresh food items. If you’re the type of person who likes stocking up, supermarkets have a wide array of picks you can find on their shelves from all over Europe.
Cheaper discount supermarkets tend to carry limited options, usually carrying their in-house brand. These supermarkets are usually small but have good, high-quality products.
Many supermarkets carry brands from several parts of the world. Many even have an aisle specific to what culture’s food you’re looking for, and the availability is quite high. Many of these stores carry French, Czech, British, American, and even Asian foodstuff.
The growing international culture in Slovenia means there are better food options than ever before. You will also encounter cheaper items compared to what most stores, some even fresher than the Tržnica.
What gives chain supermarkets a heavy advantage, however, is their food variety. Local shops and Tržnica have items that many of the locals need on a daily basis. Even then, many of these places lack packaged consumable food products like snacks, treats, and uncommon ingredients.
Supermarkets also have more options for people with more specialized diets. People who have allergies can assure themselves that the items they get cater to them. Those who are organic conscious can also benefit from such picks. Beyond these, you can visit BTC City to get the best selection of items.
Supermarkets You Can Find In Slovenia
Slovenia has at least seven major chain grocery shops and supermarkets available. These shops offer a wide range of picks to their customers. These shops include:
- E. Leclerc
- Spar and Interspar
These brands are famous around Slovenia and the general area of the landscape. They know what Slovenians need and what they need with their everyday lives.
E. Leclerc is a French supermarket based in Ivry-sur-Seine. Leclerc has among the biggest and widest food offers among Slovenian supermarket chains. They offer a variety of services and homegrown brands on their shelves.
Leclerc’s product range is astounding, mostly focused on French products. They also sell French food, mostly pastries, sweets, and delicacies. If you’re looking for a superb selection of wines, alcohol, and spirits, this is the place to visit.
Their prices are competitive, although they are more expensive than most of the other supermarkets due to many of their specialized fare. They offer big discounts, especially if you have their membership card.
While they have a wide array of food options, they are also generally rare in Slovenia. E.Leclerc is only available in the two biggest cities in Slovenia. There is one in Ljubljana and one in Maribor.
If you actually have access to what they offer, it’s worth it to give them a quick visit.
Lidl is a medium-sized chain supermarket with a good number of stores in Slovenia. German-based, they are big enough to have everything that someone would need in Slovenia. They carry the most generic brands and almost every city and town has one.
Lidl entered the grocery-chain market in Slovenia for the first time in 2007. While they have the second smallest number of branches in 2015, Lidl tends to be a favorite among Slovenians.
Lidl is famous for its discount chain style sales scheme. They tend to be small to medium in size, so they have what you would need. There’s usually at least a couple of Lidl shops in a town, with at least one in Novo mesto, Brezice, and Sezana.
The highest concentration of Lidl chains is, unsurprisingly, found in Ljubljana and Maribor. Both cities have one shop every mile or so, which makes it easy to find.
If you want cheaper products, Lidl is a good pick. Even then, you will likely feel limited by the items that they carry.
Hofer is the Slovene version of Aldi, which is a German-owned family discount chain. They came into the Slovenian market in 2005 and has a 10.5% market share in 2015. Even if Hofer chains are far fewer than Lidl, Slovenians love shopping in them.
Hofer is well-known in Slovenia for offering the best quality generic/store brand products. More than Spar or Lidl, Hofer offers the best value for money but can have issues with more exotic goods.
Hofer sells everything from fresh fruit, pastries, dairy, and even canned food. If you have a Hofer near you, it’s best to take advantage of it. There will always be something you’d want in their shop. You can then buy more exotic and branded products when you go to big supermarkets.
Spar and Interspar
Spar, and by extension Interspar, is among the older supermarkets in Slovenia. They came to Slovenia in 1991 and have their parent company in Austria. Many of their offers are reasonable and have a good variety of offerings on sale.
Spar is the smaller grocery version of the chain, while Interspar is the hypermarket version. Spar carries a better variety than both Lidl and Hofer, and the variation can be significant. Even then, Spar can be a little more expensive than other discount chains.
If you can find an Interspar, Interspar offers a better variety than Spar. They also have more discounts due to having a bigger chain.
Mercator is among the most famous supermarket chains in Slovenia. They are a home-grown brand, even if they are owned by a Croatian conglomerate named Agrokor. They have been in the business since 1949 and are the oldest chain in Slovenia.
Mercator is a place where you’ll find many Slovenians shopping. It used to be a small, locally-owned grocery business where most of the older Slovenians shopped. In 2014, Agrokor started the takeover of the business, completing it in 2017.
Mercator has the best variety of products on sale to customers. There is a Mercator in almost every town or city, with multiple branches in the same town only a few hundred meters away. Mercator can be the priciest of the bunch, but their offerings are hard to beat.
Tus is the last remaining fully Slovenian-owned supermarket on this list. They came into the market in 1989, around the time when Jager came into the Slovenian market.
When it comes to pricing, Tus is among the most expensive of all the options. They carry almost identical items from Mercator and Spar, but since they’re local, your money goes to a local business.
Other than that, Tus is a better choice than Lidl or Eurospin on both quality and brand options. If you’re the type who doesn’t care about brands, Lidl might be a cheaper option.
Eurospin is the cheapest store brand in Slovenia and offers the lowest cost products across the country. They are on par with Lidl and Hofer when it comes to the variety of products offered, if not a little smaller in range.
Eurospin is infamous for its low cost, usually great for people on a budget. Even then, many people also question the quality of their products. If you’re looking to save around 10 to 20% more than Lidl, Eurospin is the best pick.
Supermarkets in Slovenia are a great source of different products. While the Tržnica offers only the freshest products, supermarkets can help you control your budget and your spending. You can expect a more stable price point and the same quality of items every time.
Which supermarket in Slovenia do you visit? Find more places to see in Slovenia today. There are more places where you can find not only local Slovenian fare but other activities that will fit your budget.