Supermarkets and grocery stores are found throughout Bermuda. Wherever you are staying there will almost always be a store nearby, though in many cases you’ll really need some form of transport to carry your groceries.
Only locally owned companies are allowed to operate on the island, so you won’t find branches of US or UK stores like Walmart, Kroger, Safeway, Tesco, or Asda here. Stores are relatively small and limited shelf space means the product range is predominantly groceries. There are no hypermarkets selling white goods and other non-food products.
Locally sourced foods account for a tiny proportion of products available. There are just a handful of farms and production is limited to fruit and vegetables, eggs and dairy products, and flowers. Some, like Wadson’s Farm, sell directly to the public. Local fishermen supply restaurants and stores with lobster (September to March only) and fish such as rockfish and wahoo.
North American products dominate the market, accounting for over 80 percent of goods on the shelves. US brands such as Nestle, Heinz, Kraft and Kellogg’s are the most popular. The Supermart store offers some products from upmarket UK chain Waitrose.
Most goods are sourced from the New York/Newark area. Supermarkets buy directly from agents in the US and/or local distributors. Products are generally shipped in weekly. They could leave the US on Friday and arrive in Bermuda on Monday. The containers then have to be unloaded, cleared through customs, and distributed to the stores. The long process means that the freshness of some imported products is often less than satisfactory.
The local supermarkets don’t have the economic muscle to exert significant influence on their suppliers. In the UK for example, large chains such as Tesco are able to purchase goods at prices just above the cost of production. They control their supply chain and can bring products into store quickly and cheaply. This is not the case in Bermuda.
Middlemen, shipping costs, and high customs duties mean that products cost significantly more in Bermuda than in the US. Although the supermarkets don’t control their suppliers, they do have a captive customer base with a high disposable income. They can therefore get away with adding a high mark-up to an already inflated price. At the store, expect to pay up to two times more than in the US for your standard basket of groceries.
Shoppers can get some discounts by planning their weekly shop carefully. The MarketPlace stores offer a 5 percent discount on Wednesdays while Arnold’s stores give a 15 percent discount the first Tuesday in the month.
Most grocery stores are open every day of the week (Lindo’s are closed on Sundays). They also sell alcohol, although licensing laws prohibit sales after 9 pm. Bermuda’s alcohol laws changed in 2014. Alcohol can now be sold in supermarkets and grocery stores on Sundays.
Supermarkets, and indeed all businesses on the island, accept both Bermuda and US dollars. ATMs can be found outside many stores.