Learn what to buy and skip at Mercadona with this shopping guide including all my favorite products. I know that doing grocery shopping in a new country can be overwhelming. Even though you have visited the country before, it’s not the same being a tourist versus becoming a local. I remember the first few times I went to the supermarket. It took me hours to decide what to buy! I didn’t recognize most of the product brands or labels. Let alone I didn’t even knew which supermarket to visit.
Back in Puerto Rico, I did my grocery shopping at supermarkets where product names and descriptions were in English. Even though Spanish is my mother tongue, Spanish Spanish product descriptions felt like another language to me. And sometimes, five years later, it still does.
Mercadona is a Spanish supermarket chain available all over the country. It’s actually the top supermarket in Spain since it has 23% of the grocery shopping market share. Typically their supermarkets are medium sized in the city center locations. But bigger on the outskirts of the cities, where usually people get there by car instead of walking or using public transportation. Mercadona is known for having few brands for each product; they will only have their house brand Hacendado and the top bestseller brands or products.
Mercadona is a great place to buy staples of all kinds, but some of their offerings are really good. Here are my top picks.
What to buy at Mercadona
Frozen Aisle & Ready to Eat Meals
Mercadona’s frozen aisle is top. I would say this is one of my favorites areas to shop. One of my favorite products is their frozen fruit. They have mango, strawberry, berries, pineapple, and blueberries. The assortment does vary per season. What I love about their frozen fruit is that they come in small plastic bags and don’t take much space in the freezer. They also have a ton of ready to eat frozen meals like rice with vegetables or chicken, paella, pasta and more. One of my all-time favorites frozen meals is their fajitas and grilled vegetables.
Since I have little to no time to prepare dinner during weekdays, their ready to eat meals are always in my cart. They have many healthy options that I love, like their vegetable soups and vegetable-filled kinds of ravioli. Most of their products have no preservatives and are made with easy to read clean and simple ingredients. You can also catch some Andalusia traditional staples like Salmorejo, which I must say tastes delicious. I must say that Hacendado’s Salmorejo sometimes tastes better than the ones served at restaurants. I know that Salmorejo is hard to like to some expats, is either a love or hate relationship. Hey, it took me four years to embrace the cold soup idea. So give it some time, and tries 😉
Although most of their cheese and meats are from their house label and one may tend to believe that they are cheap, they taste delicious. They have a great assortment and reasonable prices. They also have boneless grilled chicken and diced turkey ham in plastic packages that are perfect for salads or to prepare any quick meal. I like to add their diced turkey ham to my scrambled eggs or improvise some tacos.
Bread & Crackers
Sometimes I get the impression that this is the aisle where most people shop since is always so crowded. They have a great variety of bread and crackers options from gluten-free, high fiber to white sandwich bread. I highly recommend their rye bread and crackers. Their high fiber rye crisp bread is what I found to be the most similar product to GG crackers.
What you should skip at Mercadona
Mercadona has more hits than misses, but some items aren’t worth the investment.
Plant-Based Milk Drinks
Considering I switched to plant-based milk made from almonds, coconut or soy back when I was a teenager. I didn’t want to take a step back when I arrived in Spain years ago. I would say that the biggest hassle I suffered in Spain was finding plant-based kinds of milk since they are not that popular in Spain yet and one does not have many options to choose from. And, we have to be very careful here, because some brands mix cow’s milk with plant-based milk and market them as plant-based. Thankfully now they are introducing 100% plant base milk brands like Almond Breeze and others.
I do not recommend the plant-based milk drinks from Mercadona. They taste weird and different.
Meat, Poultry & Fish
I don’t want to sound mean, but if you can skip buying Meat, Poultry, and Fish at Mercadona, you will not regret it the way you will regret buying them on the first place. Their quality is just not that good.
People in the United States, are so used to do all of our grocery shopping in one place, but I recommend that in Spain you don’t. Unless is necessary, of course. It could be a little inconvenient, but trust me it’s worth it. The reason? Local fruit shops have best-tasting fruit, prices and customer service than supermarkets in general. Also, you are supporting your neighborhood local business. It’s also another way to make some friends.
I’m sure there are some items I’ve missed. What else should I check out from Mercadona when I have the chance?