The Wilderness Guide to NZ Food Shopping for your Motorhome Trip - Part One

Eating in New Zealand can be very cheap or inexplicably expensive depending on where you shop, how much you cook, where you choose to go out and the number of times you go out during the week.While travelling in a motorhome might suggest you opt for easy takeaways more often than not, it pays to know the ins and outs of food shopping. Knowing where you can find the best price for the food on your shopping list will give you the opportunity to experience a few more romantic meals or fun family nights out of your campervan.

There are quite a few hot tips to cover when shopping for food so we’ve broken this series into two parts. Below we’ll give you the ins and outs of supermarket shopping, and in part two we’ve got the low-down on the best local produce and farmers’ market deals around New Zealand.


New Zealand is home to a couple of main players that will be prominent during your roadtrip across the country. It’s important to note that prices can vary depending on the area – usually more expensive in smaller towns – therefore it may pay to stock up in larger centres if you’re on a tight budget. If you do your research, you can pick up a loyalty card for specific supermarkets you know you’ll be visiting on your travels for the best deals and prices on offer.

1. Pak’nSave

With a slogan like “NZ's lowest food prices for grocery shoppers throughout New Zealand”, it’s usually a good bet for main staples. Pak’nSave is known for its large, warehouse style stores, bright yellow branding and low fuss products at reasonable prices. They provide budget advice, promotions and deals according to the area, and meal ideas on their website for added convenience. They cut costs by removing free plastic bags and instead offer recycled cardboard boxes for packing your own groceries.

2. Countdown

Food shopping in New Zealand - Countdown

Located New Zealand-wide, Countdown is dominant in the supermarket landscape. In earlier years, Countdown stores in New Zealand were three different companies – Countdown, Foodtown and Woolworths. These had all been converted to Countdown stores by 2011, which is why Countdown is so prevalent throughout the country. While a little pricier than Pak’nSave, Countdown makes up for the price difference with a large variety of products and produce to choose from for your next motorhome-made meal. With their Onecard loyalty card, members can get some good deals on weekly specials.

3. New World

Rivaling Countdown is the large supermarket chain New World. They’re 100% New Zealand owned, and offer different specials each week on a vast array of quality goods. Shop at New World and you’ll receive a ‘Fuel Up’ voucher for a discount off your next top up of petrol at participating petrol stations – something to keep in mind when making tracks in your motorhome rental around NZ.

4. FreshChoice

Locally owned across New Zealand, FreshChoice supermarkets offer fresh produce and a selection of foodstuffs specifically chosen for the location it’s in. Even though they have a smaller number of stores, FreshChoice offers special prices on specific food items for your shopping needs while you’re on your NZ adventure.

5. The Mad Butcher

If you’re a voracious meat eater, The Mad Butcher will have your heart. They offer very competitive prices paired with high quality meats – there really isn’t anywhere to buy meat in New Zealand for better value for money. Just be sure that you can keep your meat fresh in your motorhome fridge or freezer.

Now that you’ve got the lay of the land when it comes to supermarkets, head on over to part two to top up your hampers with fresh produce and local specialties.

For recipe inspiration while you’re touring NZ, try our camper cooking favourites, including our Thai curry and other recipes for the road.

If you have any questions about your food needs, leave us a message below or contact the Wilderness team, we’re always happy to offer any advice.

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