Supermarkets In Norway

Supermarkets in Norway: What to expect from a Norwegian grocery store

Knowing where to buy your food when in a foreign country for the first time is difficult, and you’ll probably find that things are a little different from what you’re used to — even if you’ve lived in or visited one of the other Nordic countries. So, what are the main supermarkets in Norway?

Regardless of whether you plan to live in or visit Norway, you’ll need to find a way to eat — and unless you’re thinking about starting a farm, you will have to shop at a grocery store. Whether you’re in Oslo or a more remote town in the Arctic, you’ll find a selection of places to get your groceries from.

The variety of products on offer will vary depending on where you shop, as will the prices. Nonetheless, you should still be able to find what you’re looking for — unless you want something very specific.

This guide will walk you through the different Norwegian food store chains. You’ll also learn about what you can expect from grocery stores in Norway in general. Does that sound interesting to you? Great — in that case, let’s get started.

What are supermarkets in Norway like?

Norway is one of the richest countries in the world, and the high supermarket prices reflect this. You can shop on a budget (more on that later), but almost every place you go will probably cost more than you’re used to — unless you’re from another Nordic country or Switzerland.

The selection of foods you get in Norwegian supermarkets varies depending on your choice, but your options aren’t anywhere near as great as in countries like the US and UK. You will, however, find the essentials you need; as you might expect from a country with the world’s second-longest coastline, the seafood options are largely excellent as well.

Staff in Norwegian supermarkets will help you if you need it, and they’re typically quite friendly. However, you shouldn’t expect them to start conversations with you — and you will have to bag your shopping yourself.

Speaking of bags, you should strongly consider bringing your own to pack up the items you purchase. While shops have plastic bags, you’ll have to pay for these.

Supermarkets In Norway

What can you find in a Norwegian grocery store?

Grocery stores in Norway typically stock the standard items you’ll see elsewhere, including meat, dairy, and vegetables. Fresh fruit and vegetable options are somewhat limited compared to many countries, and much of the land in Norway isn’t ideal for agriculture. As such, a lot of it is imported — and some items are pretty expensive in this respect.

If you step into a Norwegian supermarket, you’ll also notice a wide selection of fish products. Salmon is widespread in most major grocery stores, and you’ll also find items like cod and prawns. Again, both fresh and frozen options are available.

Many Norwegian grocery stores also have various household items, such as shower gel, washing-up liquid, and toilet paper. You can also find deodorant, body lotion, babycare items, and more.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of visiting a foreign grocery store is checking out all the local specialties, and Norway is no different. You might quickly find that brunost (brown cheese) is your new favorite thing; it effectively tastes like a sweet version of goat’s cheese.

If you’ve ever found yourself a little further south in Scandinavia, you’ll have noticed that some Danish supermarkets also stock brunost.

As you spend more time in Norwegian supermarkets, you’ll also notice local favorites like Kvikk Lunsj — which is effectively Twix in different packaging. You will also find a wide selection of crispbreads, biscuits, and more.

Items like brunost are typically found in larger grocery stores, but you’ll find others like Kvikk Lunsj almost everywhere — including in the country’s various convenience outlets.

What are the opening hours for supermarkets in Norway?

When visiting or moving to another country, understanding the opening hours of supermarkets is essential for planning your week. And depending on where you’re from, you might notice that supermarkets in Norway have opening times that differ from places you’ve previously lived or traveled to.

Opening hours for Norwegian grocery stores vary depending on when in the week you plan to use them, and you’ll also need to plan accordingly for public holidays.

Generally speaking, supermarkets open between 06:00 and 08:00 on weekdays; on weekends, opening hours are usually between 07:00 and 09:00.

Meanwhile, convenience stores often open at around 07:00 throughout the week.

Closing times also differ from supermarket to supermarket; shops might open for longer if you’re in the center of Oslo, but planning is probably more necessary in rural locations.

As a typical guide, closing times are between 21:00 and 23:00.

Many of the larger chains have long opening hours on weekends; if they differ from the weekday ones, you’ll see the opening times in brackets outside.

Convenience stores typically close late. For example, 7-Eleven branches shut between 00:00 and 02:00 on weekdays — and 04:00 on weekends. Meanwhile, some Deli de Luca chains are open 24 hours.

Are supermarkets open on Sundays in Norway?

In countries like the UK, you’ll often have to deal with shorter opening hours on Sundays; most grocery stores are open from 10:00 to 16:00 or 11:00 to 17:00. Meanwhile, other countries — like Germany and Switzerland — shut their supermarkets altogether on the final day of the week.

So, what can you expect from a Norwegian grocery store?

Grocery stores in Norway are sometimes open, and they often maintain long operating hours. However, the shops allowed to remain open on Sundays mustn’t exceed 100 square meters in size.

Are Norwegian supermarkets open on public holidays?

If you visit Denmark on a public holiday, you’ll notice that many supermarkets — and other stores, for that matter — are closed on public holidays. Is that the case in Norway as well, then?

Norwegian laws state that supermarkets can open on some public holidays, such as Pentecost and Christmas Eve. However, these shops should close no later than 16:00.

If you visit Norway on other public holidays, such as the annual 17th May celebrations, you will find that many supermarkets are closed.

Supermarkets In Norway

Do supermarkets in Norway have self-checkout options?

In some countries, you can find self-checkout options in almost every major supermarket. Some Norwegian convenience stores and supermarkets have this feature, but the feature isn’t as widespread as in many other countries.

When you use the self-checkout system at a shop, you don’t need to worry about speaking Norwegian; most will have an English-speaking option for you to switch to. The process is pretty much the same as if you used one in another country, so you shouldn’t experience too much of a culture shock.

Most shops still have checkout tills instead, though, so you’ll probably use one of these. The staff will usually speak good English, so you don’t need to worry about things getting lost in translation.

What are the leading payment methods in Norwegian grocery stores?

The Nordic countries are some of the global leaders in cashlessness, and Norway is one of the most advanced nations in this respect. You can very easily go an entire lifetime here without needing physical notes, and you almost certainly will never require any in a large supermarket chain.

Most Norwegians pay for their groceries with a debit card, and you’ll find contactless machines in most places. When purchasing above a certain amount, you might need to enter your PIN number instead — but the process is pretty painless.

Apple Pay and Google Pay are relatively new to Norway, but you can use both payment methods throughout the country if you don’t have your card with you.

In some cases, you can even set up a USDT wallet with a smartphone app, which could make it easier to pay for goods and services digitally. 

What else should I know about Norwegian supermarkets?

We’ve covered most of the basics about supermarkets in Norway, but you’ll need to learn a couple more things before we move on and look at the main Norwegian grocery store chains in more detail. Below are two additional sections that answer any questions you might have.

Can I buy alcohol in Norwegian supermarkets?

Buying alcohol in the Nordic countries is often a little more complex than elsewhere, with the exception of Denmark.

You can purchase alcoholic beverages in Norwegian supermarkets and convenience stores, but only for drinks up to 4.7%. Anything above this requires a visit to Vinmonopolet, which is the Norwegian monopoly for alcohol.

You should also note that supermarkets in Norway have to abide by different selling times for alcohol. Alcohol sales stop at 20:00 on weekdays in supermarkets, along with 18:00 on Saturdays. You cannot buy alcohol in Norwegian supermarkets on Sundays.

Is Lidl in Norway?

Lidl is one of the most popular grocery store chains in Europe, and it’s known for having good quality food products that aren’t particularly expensive. But if you were looking for Lidl in Norway, you’re unfortunately out of luck.

Lidl tried its luck in Norway in 2004, but it didn’t last long. In 2008, the German company withdrew from the market to focus its efforts elsewhere. Swedish grocery store chain ICA has also attempted to make a name for itself in Norway, but it similarly failed.

What are the main Norwegian grocery stores and convenience shops?

Okay, so you’ve got a pretty good idea of what you can expect from a Norwegian grocery store if you’ve read this far. Now, you’re ready to learn more about the main food store chains in the country.

Below are the most common Norwegian supermarkets and convenience stores you’ll find during your time here.

Supermarkets In Norway

REMA 1000

REMA 1000 is the largest discount supermarket chain in Norway, and you’ll find several stores in Denmark as well. The company was founded in 1979, and its modern-day headquarters are in Oslo.

Most REMA 1000 stores are reasonably-sized, and the layout is pretty straightforward to navigate. But depending on the store and when during the day you go, you might have to deal with various boxes and whatnot when staff are restocking shelves.

REMA 1000 stores in Norway have a wide selection of everyday food items; if you’re looking for the basics to cook a nutritious meal, you’ll find pretty much everything you need here. Many REMA 1000 stores also have a section of baked goods toward the front of the shop.

Supermarkets In Norway

Kiwi

Kiwi is another discount Norwegian grocery store chain that is popular with customers throughout the country. Many individuals find Kiwi supermarkets less expensive than REMA 1000, especially if you’re a member of the loyalty program.

Like REMA 1000, you shouldn’t expect anything out of the ordinary. Kiwi is a good place to do your grocery shopping if you’re looking for basics, and you’ll find its stores dotted throughout the country. Almost every major city has a selection of Kiwi stores, and the same is true for smaller settlements.

Kiwi had previously tried to establish itself in Denmark too, but it announced that it would withdraw from the market in 2017. The store chain is owned by NorgesGruppen.

Supermarkets In Norway
Credit: Ssu

Narvesen

If you’re ever in downtown Oslo, you’ll find it difficult to miss the bright colors of a Narvesen store. You’ll find over 300 dotted throughout the country, along with various others in Latvia and Lithuania.

Unlike the shops we’ve already mentioned on this list, Narvesen is a convenience store. It’s a useful pit stop if you’re looking for basic items and a quick bite to eat; while a lot of the food is expensive, its hot dogs are pretty well-priced for Norway.

Narvesen stores often have breakfast deals where you can get a coffee and a pastry, making them especially useful if you’re heading out on an excursion and you’re not staying somewhere that offers free breakfast. 

Supermarkets In Norway

MENY

If you’re looking for more specialized grocery items during your time in Norway, you’ll probably visit MENY. MENY is the highest-end Norwegian grocery store on our list — and it’s often considered the most expensive supermarket chain in the country.

MENY has been around since 1992, and the store chain started here before expanding to Denmark in 2015. Most of its stores are in and around the Oslo region, as well as other parts of Southern Norway.

However, you will also find shops in other major Norwegian towns and cities — including Bergen, Tromsø, Ålesund, and Stavanger.

MENY is the ideal place to go if you’re cooking a meal for someone special or if you simply want to try an alternative to the standard discount grocery stores.

Supermarkets In Norway

Iceland Foods

Iceland is a recognizable food chain if you’re from the UK, but not so much in most other parts of the world. As you might have guessed from the name, the chain specializes in frozen foods — and you’ll want to go elsewhere if you’re more interested in fresh goods.

Iceland is a relatively new phenomenon in Norway; the chain only expanded here in 2018. As such, it doesn’t have many stores at the time of writing — though it’s slowly expanding.

You’ll find two Iceland grocery stores in Oslo, along with others in Asker and Bekkestua — both of which are close to the capital. The chain opened a store in Kristiansand toward the end of 2021.

Supermarkets In Norway

Bunnpris

Bunnpris is another reasonably-priced Norwegian grocery store that you will find throughout the country. You’ll find several stores in and around Oslo, along with various other shops in different cities — including a number of them in Bergen.

Bunnpris has its headquarters in Trondheim and has been around since 1981. The chain is owned by I.K. Lykke and its CEO is Trond Lykke. If you can’t find any Kiwi or REMA 1000 shops, Bunnpris offers a viable alternative.

Joker

In some parts of Norway, you’ll notice grocery stores — often on corners — titled Joker. These outlets are often pricier than the likes of REMA 1000 and Kiwi, and the shops are often smaller too.

Joker is a useful alternative if you live in a part of Norway where you can’t find any alternative supermarkets open on Sundays. If you’re short on time and need something quick, these shops are also a helpful option to have.

Supermarkets In Norway

7-Eleven

If you’ve traveled anywhere in Scandinavia, you’ll probably be familiar with 7-Eleven — ditto if you’ve been to the US or Japan. Norway has a wide selection of 7-Eleven stores, many of which have lengthy opening hours and are useful choices if you need something outside of supermarket opening hours.

7-Eleven has various shops in major Norwegian cities, including several dotted throughout Oslo’s city center. You’ll find numerous items in these stores, including sandwiches, hot dogs, and pastries. The shops are also good for purchasing soda and other drinks.

7-Eleven stores are quite expensive in Norway, but they’re still useful if you’re visiting for a weekend on a budget — and you don’t want to cook.

Supermarkets In Norway

Coop

Coop is a large chain in Norway with a number of stores in the country. You’ll find a mixture of smaller convenience stores and larger stores, including several throughout the Oslo region.

You’ll find many of the same items in Coop as you will in discount supermarkets, and it’s useful for anything you might not have found in REMA 1000 or Kiwi.

Supermarkets In Norway

SPAR

SPAR is another Norwegian grocery store chain owned by NorgesGruppen, and you’ll find multiple shops located throughout Norway. Its shops are usually open until late, and you’ll find the basics you need to complete your weekly shop.

SPAR isn’t as widespread as some of the other shops mentioned on our list, but prices are generally pretty low. So, you shouldn’t notice too much of a price difference when getting your groceries from one of these stores.

Deli de Luca

Deli de Luca stands alongside 7-Eleven and Narvesen as one of the most popular convenience store chains in Norway. You’ll find several shops in the country’s major cities, especially in and around Oslo.

Deli de Luca specializes more in food than everyday items, and you’ll typically find a broad range of sandwiches, salads, and more. If you’re staying at an Airbnb rental, your host might also send you details to pick up your keys from one of these stores; many of them have Sharebox outlets.

How can I save money in Norwegian supermarkets?

Norwegian grocery stores are expensive, but you can reduce your food bill if you’re strategic. Below are a couple of tips to keep in mind when getting your weekly food.

Look for discount stickers

When perishable food items are going out of date, many stores will sell them for less to reduce waste. You can get pretty good deals if you purchase meat, fish, and bread about to expire; if you don’t expect to eat everything straight away, you can freeze it at home.

Expiring food is somewhat the luck of the draw, but you’ll find what you’re looking for if you’re willing to shop around.

Buy frozen vegetables

Fresh vegetables in Norway are often eye-wateringly expensive, and you’ll often find that much of it isn’t the greatest quality. You can save money by purchasing frozen vegetables like peas, green beans, and spinach.

Frozen vegetables have the added benefit of holding more of their nutrients.

Use apps to help you out

If you’re looking for deals at a Norwegian grocery store, your smartphone is a good starting point. Mattilbud shows you all of the major supermarkets’ biggest offers, and some outlets — like REMA 1000 — have individual versions that can help you save money on your purchase.

Consider visiting Sweden

This suggestion is a little left-field, but you might want to consider taking a trip to Sweden if you visit or live near any of the border regions. Many Norwegians travel to Scandinavia’s largest country to purchase cheaper items before heading back home.

Groceries are typically less expensive in Sweden, and you might be able to find things you couldn’t get in Norway.

That’s pretty much everything you need to know about grocery stores in Norway

So, that’s our guide to Norwegian supermarkets in a nutshell. Stepping into a Norwegian grocery store can feel daunting if you’ve never done so before, but navigating them isn’t too difficult once you’re there.

You won’t have a huge selection compared to other countries, but you’ll have enough to get the basics — and you also might find the lack of choice easier for making food shopping decisions.

Regardless of where you are in Norway, you should have access to at least one supermarket or convenience store. Self-catering is an ideal option if you plan to visit for an extended period, as eating out here is quite expensive and typically only done on special occasions.

Norway might not have the most ideal weather, but its low crime levels, high salaries, and friendly people make it a great place to live. If you’re not too fussy about where you live in this beautiful country, why not check out our article about the best places to settle?

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