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Brits get more bangers for their buck than Oz rivals in International Cost of Grilling

  • UK up to £50 cheaper than Oz for laying on a family barbecue
  • South Africa and Spain offer great value for grilling
  • Japan & Australia most expensive countries – up to £215
  • Mexico wins crown for least expensive ketchup
  • Steaks are most expensive in Zurich, where beef costs £51 per kg

With the UK set for a heatwave, the barbecue season is upon us. But how much could it cost you this Father’s Day? After a period of inflation and currency fluctuation, ECA International (ECA) has compared the costs of laying on a big family barbecue across ten major countries in its International Cost of Grilling index.

The analysis, based on a basket of 17 barbecue-friendly items*, shows Brits get 26% better barbecuing value than their grilling-mad counterparts in Australia, and 20% better than the USA. ECA’s basket of barbecue goods costs £134 in the UK, compared to around £182 in Australia and £168 in the US. The average cost of a barbecue for ten people, out of the ten countries ranked, is £150.

Chart showing the cost of a 10 person BBQ in selected locations around the worldThe International Cost of Grilling

Japan is the most expensive place in the world to host a barbecue, with costs hitting as much as £215. While the same meal can be laid out in South Africa for less than half the price at £97.

“When factoring in the 163 items in ECA’s Cost of Living basket, Japanese cities have long ranked among the most expensive locations in the world for expatriates,” said Steven Kilfedder, ECA International’s cost of living expert.

It’s good news for holiday makers and expats living in Spain, as the popular Mediterranean country is the second-most affordable barbecuing location with the same produce costing £103.

Kilfedder added: “When the sunshine hits, hosting barbecues for family and friends is a long-standing custom in many countries. A ten-person spread could cost you around £134 in the UK, according to our latest survey data. While Brits may be paying more than the South Africans or Spanish this summer, a big grill is better value in Britain than Australia and the USA.”

Table showing the most and least expensive beef steak, chicken, tomato ketchup, beer and tomatoes in the world“For people working or travelling abroad, there will always be surprises when everyday products carry massive premiums or offer fantastic value,” stated Kilfedder. “For instance, you can get a 500ml can of beer for 60p in Kiev, compared to £5.21 per can in Amman. A major factor to consider with this is the 200% import tariff on beer in Jordan.”

ECA International’s findings, which use data from its biannual Cost of Living Survey, also show the huge fluctuations in prices of key ingredients across different countries, ranking the UK as one of the cheapest across ten major international countries.

For those having a big barbecue this weekend, spare a thought for people in Hong Kong, where 500g of tomatoes will set them back £3.86 (the same amount costs £1.14 in the UK) and a chicken will cost over £13 per kilogram. This is because fresh produce for expatriates in Hong Kong can be expensive as these items tend to be imported.

ECA’s Cost of Living data has shown that, surprisingly, Argentina doesn’t offer the best-value steak – you need to be in Antananarivo for that, where beef steak costs just £4.17 per kg, compared to a whopping £51.52 in Zurich.

When it comes to adding a bit more flavour to your meal, tomato ketchup is available in Mexico City for just 68p, compared to £6.83 in Khartoum, Sudan.

* ECA’s full Basket of Barbecue Goods

Beef Steak
1 kilogram
1 kilogram
1 kilogram
Pork Chops
1 kilogram
1 kilogram
500 grams
500 grams
Green Peppers
500 grams
500 grams
1 kilogram
White Bread
1 kilogram
Cheese (Hard)
500 grams
Tomato Ketchup
500 grams (one large bottle)
Canned Beer
5 litres
1 bottle
2 bottles
Soft Drink
5 litres


About ECA's Cost of Living Survey

ECA International's Cost of Living Surveys are carried out in March and September using a basket of day-to-day goods and services commonly purchased by assignees.

Cost of living indices are used by ECA clients to calculate cost of living allowances for assignees. The survey covers:

Food: Groceries; dairy produce; meat and fish; fresh fruit and vegetables
Basic: Household goods; recreational goods; general services; leisure services
General: Clothing; electrical goods; motoring; meals out; alcohol and tobacco

Certain living costs such as accommodation rental, utilities charges (electricity, gas, and water), car purchases and school fees are not included in the survey. Such items can make a significant difference to expenses but are usually compensated for separately in expatriate packages.

This comparison of cost of living was calculated on a base composed of various developed countries and is used to reflect an international lifestyle. Other indices available from ECA reflect specific city-to-city comparisons and different levels of shopping efficiency.

ECA's blog provides updates and commentary on currency, inflation and expatriate cost of living. Follow the blog here.

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