Supermarkets In Denmark

Your complete guide to supermarkets in Denmark: The bad, the not-so-great, and the okay

If you’re coming to live in Denmark or plan to travel for an extended period, you’ll almost certainly need to use a grocery store at some point — unless you fancy running up an eye-watering bill dining every night. And we’ve got to be truthful with you for a moment… supermarkets in Denmark aren’t always the greatest.

Denmark is home to several grocery store chains; while the country has a reputation for being expensive, you can find supermarkets for every kind of budget.

Even in Copenhagen’s city center, you’ve got plenty of options — but you’ll never need to drive, walk, or cycle far from one if you’re in a more remote part of the country.

So, are supermarkets in Denmark as bad as they say? What can you expect, and which chains are available? Let’s dig in and find out.

What are supermarkets like in Denmark?

Do you come from a country where you’re accustomed to multiple food choices in grocery stores, such as the US or the UK? If so, you might find that you’re in for a shock when visiting supermarkets in Denmark.

When you visit a Danish supermarket, you’ll typically only find a few options for each food item. You might also need to visit multiple grocery stores to get the exact type of produce you want in many instances.

You might not find this a massive issue if you live in Copenhagen or Aarhus, but the problem is a little bigger if you live in a smaller town or city.

Danish grocery stores vary in size. You’ll find larger grocery stores in shopping centers and a little further out of town — for example, Føtex has bigger outlets inside Frederiksberg’s shopping mall and Fisketorvet in Copenhagen.

However, inside city centers, you’ll find smaller shops on street corners — though it’s also possible to find bigger stores in these parts of the country.

In some countries, the staff at the cash register will help you pack your bags. If you’re expecting that kind of service in Denmark, you’ll want to get that thought out of your head.

The people working at these stores will help if you have a question, but it’s important to remember that Denmark is a society where equality is a cornerstone; you bought the food, and you’re more than capable of putting it into a few bags.

One thing that you might find annoying about supermarkets in Denmark is that queues are sometimes long. While this problem is by no means exclusively Danish, you might find yourself questioning why extra lanes don’t open.

Generally speaking, it takes a big queue before stores open additional registers.

In terms of layout, supermarkets in Denmark are pretty logical — for the most part. You’ll find fresh fruit and vegetables as you enter many budget stores, with frozen fish and meat close together.

Milk, yogurt, and Skyr are with the eggs and butter, and cheeses often have a separate section — though the latter can vary depending on the store you choose.

If you’re looking for spices in Danish supermarkets, you’ll find some choices — but not many. Moreover, spices are often quite expensive; your best option is to go to an ethnic store or bring them with you from abroad.

Denmark is one of Europe’s most expensive countries, and food items in Danish supermarkets are subjected to that notorious 25% VAT. However, many stores have good deals on perishables close to their expiration dates.

And if you have a registered address in the country, keep an eye out for free leaflets and papers advertising weekly deals.

The good news is that many items in Denmark are organic, and you don’t have to go to a specialist store to find these. Even discount supermarkets, such as Netto, offer food of this kind without a considerable price increase; look for “Økologisk” or “ØGO” on food items.

What are the opening hours for grocery stores in Denmark?

Supermarkets in Denmark usually have long opening hours; on weekdays, you can generally do your shopping from 07:00 or 08:00 until around 21:00 or 22:00, depending on the store you choose. On weekends, Danish grocery stores follow the same hours.

If you’re from a country where grocery stores are either closed or operate at reduced hours on Sundays, you’ll find Denmark a breath of fresh air. Supermarkets are open every day of the week, and they often open as early as 07:00 on Sunday too.

When in Denmark around public holidays, you’ll need to carefully plan your shopping. Most stores in the country are closed on Christmas and Easter; over Easter, many supermarkets are also shut on Thursday.

Do supermarkets in Denmark have self-checkout?

Many countries have adopted self-checkout systems to speed up the purchasing process, and you’ll see them in almost every UK supermarket. Some grocery stores in Denmark have self-checkout kiosks, but it’s nowhere near as widespread as in some other parts of the world.

Most Føtex stores have places where you can scan your items, and the services are available in both Danish and English. Some Netto supermarkets have the same feature, but you’ll have to strike lucky as many do not.

In some Danish supermarkets, you can scan your items as you go along. Meanwhile, others allow members to pay for their groceries without waiting in the manned queue.

When you use a self-checkout system in Denmark, you’ll need to remember that you must have your receipt to open the exit turnstiles. If you use the services in Danish, select “kreditkort” instead of “købekort” — even if you use a debit card.

You only need to choose Dankort if your bank has issued you one; you’ll know if it has because your card will have a red DK logo on the front.

What are the leading payment methods in Danish grocery stores?

Like the other Nordic countries, Denmark is mainly cashless, and you’ll rarely need to withdraw money from an ATM when you live here. Card payments are far more prevalent in supermarkets than cash, and every major chain will accept both VISA and MasterCard.

Danish supermarkets permit contactless payments, though the usual limit in this respect is 300 Danish Kroner. If your shopping totals more than that, you’ll need to enter your PIN number on the card terminal.

If you’re only visiting Denmark for a short period, you shouldn’t have issues using an international card — unless your bank has blocked transactions. To avoid foreign exchange fees and ensure that you receive the best rate, consider using a mobile-only bank like Revolut or N26.

While most Danes prefer to pay for their groceries by card, you can purchase your food with cash in most places. You’ll usually hand notes over to the cashier and put your coins in a dispenser at the front — which is also where you’ll receive any change you’re owed.

Supermarkets In Denmark
Credit: Michelle.jensen.aldi.dk

Are supermarkets in Denmark better than the other Nordic countries?

While Danish supermarkets are a source of irritation for many expats when they first move here, the Nordic countries aren’t known for excellent choices when it comes to grocery shopping.

Denmark has one massive advantage over the other Nordic nations: its land is much better for growing fresh produce. Danish grocery stores usually sell high-quality potatoes, carrots, and apples — all of which are pretty well-priced compared to other items.

Danish supermarkets also tend to have more choices than Norwegian, Finnish, and Icelandic supermarkets regarding high-quality meat. Pork is hugely popular, and you won’t find any issues getting bacon or mince.

Seafood is also widespread, though it’s perhaps not as good as in Norway.

While supermarkets in Denmark often have better choices than many of its Nordic siblings, Sweden arguably has a broader selection. So, if you find yourself in Copenhagen, you might want to consider visiting Malmö for the day and popping into ICA or Hemköp.

Unlike the other Nordic countries, Denmark’s laws are much more relaxed when it comes to alcohol sales. You can buy beer, wine, and spirits in supermarkets, and the country doesn’t have a state-owned monopoly — unless you visit the Faroe Islands.

What are the cheapest grocery stores in Denmark?

Now that we’ve covered the basics of grocery stores in Denmark, we can start exploring each of the leading chains in greater depth. To begin with, we’ll look at the least expensive grocery stores in Denmark — along with discussing their pros and cons.

You’ll also find out where each of these supermarkets is available.

Supermarkets In Denmark
Credit: DH93

Netto

Netto is one of the largest discount supermarkets in Denmark, and it also operates in Germany and Poland — along with previously doing so in the UK and Sweden. You’ll find Netto stores on several street corners in Copenhagen’s inner city and many of the suburbs.

Netto is widespread throughout Denmark; if you’re ever looking for a grocery store in the countryside, you’ll most likely find Netto before any other major chain.

Netto stores stock the essential ingredients you need to make your weekly meals. You’ll find basic portions of meat and seafood, as well as various frozen goods and dry items like pasta, rice, and oatmeal.

In Netto, you’ll also find numerous dairy products and a large selection of affordable beers. Moreover, you can buy household items like toothpaste and shower gel.

Most of Netto’s items are produced in Denmark. The selection at your disposal will depend on the store you visit; larger supermarkets are usually well-stocked, but the smaller ones can be a little more chaotic.

Good for:
Beer, basic dry ingredients, and household items.

Bad for:
Chicken, speciality items, and fresh fruit.

Availability:
Nationwide.

Supermarkets In Denmark
Credit: Bjørn Erik Pedersen

REMA 1000

If you’ve ever visited Norway, you’ll be familiar with REMA 1000. This supermarket chain has also built a significant presence in parts of Denmark, and you’ll find over 300 stores throughout the country.

REMA 1000’s offerings differ a little from Netto, but you’ll find many of the same items — and you won’t notice much in terms of the price difference.

Many of REMA 1000’s stores are roughly the same size, and you’ll find most of them in neighborhoods like Ørestad, Frederiksberg, and Amagerbro.

Like Netto, REMA 1000 is useful for basics like rice and pasta. You’ll also find a better selection of seafood in these stores, though Netto is probably a little better for household items.

If you’re looking for fresh meat, REMA 1000’s beef mince is about the same as Netto in terms of quality. However, its chicken — especially the marinated versions, is much better.

Good for:
Basic food items, lower-priced meat, and seafood.

Bad for:
Specialty items.

Availability:
Nationwide, but predominantly outside of city centers.

Supermarkets In Denmark
Credit: Michelle.jensen.aldi.dk

Aldi

Aldi is a German supermarket chain with a huge presence throughout Europe, and the store is popular throughout Denmark. The store sells simple food items and seasonal purchases such as clothing.

Aldi has a selection of stores in Copenhagen, but you won’t find as many as Netto or REMA 1000. You’ll also find Aldi on numerous small islands, such as Møn and Falster — along with several parts of Fyn and Jutland.

Price-wise, Aldi isn’t too different from REMA 1000 or Netto. However, the quality of items is a little higher than Netto — especially when it comes to fresh fruits and vegetables.

Good for:
Fresh fruits and vegetables, basic food items.

Bad for:
Specialty items.

Availability:
Nationwide.

Supermarkets In Denmark
Credit: Leif Jørgensen

Lidl

If you’re looking for the best discount Danish supermarket, Lidl is perhaps your best bet. You’ll almost certainly be familiar with the name if you’ve ever lived in the UK, Germany, or Switzerland; the store has a huge presence throughout Europe and the US.

Lidl supermarkets in Denmark have a much broader selection of food items from abroad than the other discount grocery stores. Moreover, the stores are usually larger and laid out; their bakeries are also fantastic value for money.

In Lidl, you’ll find affordable seafood that’s high quality — along with other cuts of meat that fit in the same category. You’ll also notice a wider variety of spices, canned goods, and specialty items.

Lidl often has themed weeks, where you can buy foods from certain countries either at a discount or for a limited period. You’ll find a wide selection of Lidl stores in Copenhagen, but Odense and Aarhus have plenty.

If you’re looking for wine but you’re not interested in paying a premium, Lidl might be your best bet. You’ll find red and white wines from several countries, along with numerous beers.

Good for:
International foods, higher-quality meat, and seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables.

Bad for:
Lengthy queues at the checkout.

Availability:
Nationwide.

What are the best grocery stores in Denmark?

Now that we’ve covered the main discount supermarkets in Denmark, we can look at some of the higher-end options. Below, we’ve outlined three other grocery stores you’ll probably bump into when visiting Scandinavia’s southernmost country.

Supermarkets In Denmark
Credit: Jonas S.

Føtex

Føtex is one of the most popular supermarkets in Denmark, and it’s an excellent balance between price and quality for many items. You’ll find stores in most major cities, but the choice on offer depends on whether you visit a large or small shop.

Express stores — which you’ll typically find in city centers — often have the more expensive items on offer, along with less of a selection.

Inside Føtex, you’ll find produce mainly produced in Denmark. Its fresh fruit and vegetables are usually high in quality, and the store’s seafood is also good.

Larger Føtex stores typically have places where you can purchase freshly caught fish from a market, as well as packaged meals and more.

More sizeable Føtex stores also have big homeware sections. You can buy several items in these, such as bedding and items for your kitchen. You’ll often find the bigger Føtex supermarkets inside shopping malls, and the chain has several stores throughout the country.

Føtex stores usually have a self-checkout option, making it simple to pay for your items and head home.

Good for:
Homeware, good-quality perishables.

Bad for:
Spices.

Availability:
Nationwide.

Supermarkets In Denmark
Credit: Leif Jørgensen

MENY

MENY is more expensive than most Danish supermarkets — but if you’re looking for specialty items or unique meals, you’ll probably find yourself here at some point.

These supermarkets aren’t as widespread as the others we’ve mentioned on our list so far, though you’ll still find over 100 dotted throughout the country.

MENY serves high-quality meat and fish, along with items like pretzel hot dog buns. These stores are also a good place to visit if you’re looking for plants to spruce up your apartment and much more.

Like Føtex, MENY has a counter where you can buy fresh meat and various other specialty food products. Many of its stores are on Sjælland, but you’ll also find some on Fyn and in Jutland.

Good for:
Fresh meat, specialty products.

Bad for:
Everyday food items.

Availability:
Nationwide.

Supermarkets In Denmark
Credit: Finn Årup Nielsen

Irma

Irma is the most expensive store in Denmark, and it’s not common for the majority of Danes to regularly shop here unless they earn a hefty salary. Nonetheless, it’s a good place to purchase specific items that you can’t find elsewhere — especially if you’ve got a special occasion to celebrate.

Many people also shop at Irma for its organic foods, and you’ll also find a wide selection of wines on offer. Like Føtex, you have a much wider selection if you go to one of the larger stores — though you’ll find a couple of smaller outlets as you walk around Copenhagen.

Irma used to have stores in Jutland but has since closed them to focus on Sjælland. The majority of its supermarkets are in and around the capital.

Good for:
Organic produce, wine, specialty products.

Bad for:
Budget-friendly shopping.

Availability:
Sjælland.

What other grocery stores will you find in Denmark?

In addition to the grocery stores we’ve already mentioned, you’ll find a couple of other places to do your weekly shopping in Denmark. We’ve listed four other popular chains that might have what you’re looking for.

Supermarkets In Denmark
Credit: Øyvind Holmstad

Brugsen

Brugsen is a supermarket chain operated by Coop. In addition to SuperBrugsen, you’ll also find SuperBrugsen and Dagli’Brugsen.

None of the Brugsen stores are as commonplace as some of the other supermarkets we’ve already mentioned. However, you’ll find them spread out across the country; if you’re looking for somewhere to buy food quickly, you’ll probably run into one if you don’t see any of the others first.

Good for:
Quick food purchases.

Bad for:
Specialty items.

Availability:
Nationwide.

Supermarkets In Denmark
Credit: Wonx2150

Kvickly

Kvickly is another supermarket chain operated by Coop. While its roots began in Sweden, the store has been in Denmark for over 60 years.

Like Brugsen, Kvickly isn’t as widespread in Denmark as the likes of Lidl, Netto, and so on. However, its stores tend to be pretty big and offer a wide range of products. You’ll find several dairy items in Kvickly stores, along with well-priced meats and various delicacies.

Many Kvickly supermarkets also sell other items, such as bicycles.

Good for:
Daily or weekly shopping.

Bad for:
Well-priced fresh fruits and vegetables.

Availability:
Nationwide.

Supermarkets In Denmark
Credit: Søren1997

Fakta

Fakta is another store chain operated by Coop, but it’s typically designed for people looking to make smaller meals rather than a large weekly shop. You’ll find various stores dotted throughout the country and several deals each week.

Good for:
Simple meals.

Bad for:
Large weekly shops.

Availability:
Nationwide.

Supermarkets In Denmark
Credit: Billeder fra Holeby paa Lolland

SPAR

SPAR has several stores throughout Denmark, though it’s largely more popular in Jutland than on Sjælland — especially in the northern part of Jutland. Like Fakta, SPAR primarily targets people looking to purchase convenience food items.

Good for:
Simple meals.

Bad for:
Large weekly shops, specialty items.

Availability:
Nationwide.

Supermarkets in Denmark have less choice than in many countries, but at least there are options

So, there you have it — that’s our ultimate guide to supermarkets in Denmark!

Danish grocery stores don’t have as large a selection as you’ll find in many countries, such as the US or the UK. And, generally speaking the selection, service levels and quality of produce isn’t as good either.

However, you will find that organic food is more accessible and there’s a range of supermarkets to cover every budget.

Your choices will differ depending on where you live, but you should typically try to shop at the larger outlets as these have a bigger selection of choices.

Although Denmark is in the EU, many people mistake the country for also being part of the Eurozone. However, this is not true — though the history is somewhat complicated. Why not read all about Denmark’s relationship with the Euro here?

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