What's the most expensive food in the supermarket (per ounce)?

Unsweetened koolaid is $0.29 for 0.13 oz so about $2/oz or $32/lb
I don’t have the price, but I think jello (powder) is really up there too.

Heck, in some supermarkets, courtesy and good customer service can’t be had at any price.


This is why I shop at ethnic markets. I go to a little Middle Eastern market, and buy Persian saffron threads. They’re very high in quality, and although I don’t know the weight of the contents of the little plastic disc-shaped cup they sell, it’s about $5 for a pinch that would fill a tablespoon or two.

They also sell top-notch yogurt, Armenian cucumbers, and Greek olive oil at ridiculously low prices.

The next time you buy it, check closely. Not to accuse your little market, but chances are its been cut with something like thread or fibres, if my past experience serves me right.

But to futher this discussion, I think we need more of a clarification as to what “food” counts as. Most of us have said saffron and vanilla, but fois gras was also mentioned. Saffron is a pure ingredient where as fois gras in a can has been cooked. There are lots of commerically prepared products what would then become very expensive per ounce, especially if something like fois gras was cooked properly (ie with lots of booze).

Saffron is probably correct as the most expensive ingredient commonly available but here are some other absurdly expensive things:


Although Kobe beef is rather famous at around $300 or so a lb, there are several regions such as Omi, Matsuzaka and Mishima beef is even more highly prized and even more rare. Prices are hard to come by but $600 per lb would be about right. Apparently now unavailable in the US due to mad cow scares.


Would probably go to one of the european cured hams. Proscuitto de parma is probably the most well known but Serrano, Culatello and a range of others are probably more expensive. A good serrano runs about $100 per lb. Again, not availible in the US due to FDA regulations but this is due to change around next year or so with new curing facilities being built.

Special mention must be given to Kurobuta pork which is another testament to japanese bloody mindedness. Prices are hard to find but I’ve heard it quoted at around $100 per lb as well. If it’s availible in the US, it’s hard to find, being drowned out by american grown faux-kurobuta.


Would be the poulet de bresse. Like Champange, Bresse is an AOC designated region which means only a few farms following strict guidelines can call themselves poulet de bresse (for that matter, Kobe and Proscuitto are also designated regions). I have never seen it sold in anything but whole chicken form which is about $100 per lb and presumably something like the breast would be proportionally more expensive.


Abalone certainly deserves a mention at around $100 per lb and is currently illegal in the US. but the most expensive would probably go to the previously mentioned Beluga caviar. Amazon.com sells it for $4000 per lb. Buy soon because the Beluga Sturgeon is currently endangered.


Long aged, small stock balsamic vinegar probably rivals wine as the most expensive liquid food. It’s hard finding the upper end of the market as it is not publically auctioned off but an average, 100 year old balsamico tradizionale di modena goes for around $2500 per lb. A exceptional one might easily double that price. The most expensive wine was a 1787 Chateau Lafite which sold for $160,000 a bottle or over $100,000 a lb.


The previously mentioned truffles are the worlds most expensive fungus. Since truffles are scavanged, prices vary from year to year based on the harvest but generally, the french black truffle from perigold and the italian white truffle from piedmont are regarded as the most expensive. Prices also vary based on the size of the truffle with larger ones going for more. Just last year, a 2lb truffle was sold for $52,000 or $26,000 per lb (it was then placed in a safe while the owner went on holiday and when he returned, the truffle had decomposed and become inedible).


The most expensive organ meat would probably been the goose or duck liver used to make foie gras. Common foie gras goes for less than $100 per lb. I don’t know of any well known, premier foie gras but presumably it exists and is much more expensive.

      • I will have to check the price of saffron, I don’t know what it goes for right off. But I do know that in the store where I work, in the spices section is a little jar with two real vanilla beans in it that costs about $14. Vanilla extract is cheap by comparison.
  • Fuck off! :smiley: -I work at night, and the courtesy and good customer service is turned off from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM.

I’ve seen Safflower marketed to look quite a bit like Saffron at some of my local ethnic grocery stores. Which isn’t to say that was their express intent, but it would be easy to confuse.

I hate when that happens.

Shalmanese, I want to go to your grocery store! Mine would point me to the sports mags if I asked for Kobe!

Alcohol is a good place to find expensive stuff. My supermarket carries bottles of champagne and some tequilas costing around a hundred dollars a bottle. Not bad for a grocery in the middle of no where.

If you eliminate special ocassion things like caviar and truffles, and just look at what an ordinary family might routinely purchase, a 12 (? I think) bottle case of Enfamil baby formula will run you about 60 dollars. The price of formula always shocks me, and those little guys go through a lot!

One can certainly eat more than an ounce of caviar. At one very high class Hollywood party, they had pounds of the stuff, and I ate my fill- likely half a pound*. :wink: True, that was in the '70’s when good caviar was more reasonable.

I’d have to say caviar as a “food” wins here.

*plus quite a bit of teeny toast triangles…

If we’re allowed to ignore “food” and just go by “supermarket” (since a few people ignored “supermarket” and went with “food” it should count, lol) how about those phone cards they display right by the register? I’ve seen 'em worth up to $300 and surely, that little plastic card can’t weigh more than 1 oz. :smiley:

To hijack even further…I’ve heard rumors about “mammoth steak” being sold in Siberia whenever they stumble upon one of those well-preserved 10,000-year-old carcasses trapped in the permafrost…how much would that run per pound?

The first time I bought saffon at a supermarket, it wasn’t shelved with the other spices. I had to ask for it at the service desk, where it was kept in a locked cupboard. I felt like I was buying cocaine.

Funny thing: Although the etymology of"safrole" (the important precursor to MDMA) is from “saffron oil,” the “saffron” bit refers to the colour. It’s actually from extracted from sassafras root bark. There is no safrole in saffron.

Weird, I know. :smiley:

Dehydrated morels are pretty expensive too. So much so that some years ago, bits of gravel or even lead pellets were found in morel packs imported from India.

I would guess that these types of hams are up there a well.

I’ve actually seen Serrano here in the States, but it was insanly priced.

Gah, temporary brain fart. Serrano ham is, of course, the prototypical spanish ham and available in the US. For a gourmet ham, it should be reasonably priced. I was thinking of iberico ham which comes from pigs which forage on acorns.

Some types of Balsamic vinegars are also insanely expensive.

Oh dear. :smack: As you have probably guessed, drams, pounds, ounces, hundredweight, and stone are all a bit confused in my kitchen. You should see how some of my recipes turn out.

$100/bottle probably isn’t all that expensive. One of my favorites costs $65/bottle back home in Michigan. It’s only $25 per bottle here (750mL bottles). You better believe that we take as close to 4L per person per 30 days that we’re allowed on every trip back!

There’s a tequila here (in Mexico) that’s I’ve not tried – I think it’s Herradure Suprema Family Reserve or something like that. It’s in the fancy display case (the theft-proof one) at Sam’s Club with a price of 4500 pesos for 750mL – that’s over $400 bucks! If it’s similarly marked-up and available via the Michigan Liquor Control Commissions “master list” then we’d be looking at, what?, over $1000 bucks!

I read a police blotter where a grocery store reported the theft of a grocery cart loaded with baby formula. The loss was reported at “over $1000”.