The Big Mac Metric - A Hack To Measure The Cost Of Food In A Country
- aprajita sharad
Updated : May 20, 2022 08:05 IST
Did you know that the cost of a Big Mac burger in Switzerland is approximately more than 4 times that of in India?
The first thought that comes to the mind of a traveler while planning a trip to a new country is - how much would dining cost in a foreign land. With the worry of sky high exchange rates, every traveller has spent a considerable time converting dollars and euros into rupees, before ordering from a restaurant abroad. Food is usually the third most expensive category after lodging and flight tickets in a trip’s budget. With the rupee falling further everyday to the dollar, it’s become very important to have a rough idea on how much food is going to cost you on your vacation abroad, currently. A stronger rupee would obviously help you to shell out less money for meals in foreign countries.
To have a rough idea on how much food costs in different countries, a British weekly newspaper came up with an informal hack called the Big Mac index. This has now become the go-to calculation for travellers to gauge how much they will end up spending on food in a new country with regard to their native currencies. The Big Mac Index shows the most and least expensive places to buy a Big Mac burger (from Mc Donald’s) from. In simple words, using the Big Mc metric, you can calculate the cost of a Mc Donald’s Big Mac burger in a foreign country and can then compare how many Big Macs you could buy at the same rate, in your country. For example, in January 2012, in 50 dollars you could get approximately 30 Big Macs in India, but only 7 in Switzerland. This means that the cost of a Big Mac burger in Switzerland is approximately more than 4 times that in India. Generally speaking, this can be an indicator that food on your next Swiss trip will cost you more than what you spend right now on food in India. An interesting derivative of this is that you can compare food costs using this easy hack of different countries, and choose the one within your budget. The index also has statistical data on the amount of working time needed to buy one Big Mac in selected cities around the world.
High on the Big Mac index
This category shows countries that feature highest on the Big Mac index. These are some of the most expensive places to buy a Big Mac from. The basic deduction from these statistics is that food would generally be costlier in these countries with regard to the Indian national rupee. According to January 2021, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, United States, Israel and Canada are some of the most expensive places to buy a Big Mac from.
Low on the Big Mac index
This category shows countries that feature lowest on the Big Mac index. These are some of the least expensive places to buy a Big Mac from. The basic deduction from these statistics is that food would generally be budget friendly in these countries in comparison to the ones high on the Big Mac index, with regard to the Indian national rupee. According to January 2021, Ukraine, South Africa, Turkey, Russia, Lebanon and India are some of the least expensive places to buy a Big Mac from.
The Big Mac index is an informal hack for a fun and easy calculation and isn’t able to accommodate many many other factors influencing the cost of food in various countries. Have you ever tried using the index? Let us know in the comments below.