The average supermarket in the Netherlands is the smallest in Europe, and the selection of food and drink here at grocery stores is also very limited compared to stores in Germany, France, UK, USA and even Belgium. Here is a list of several food products that I like to bring back when shopping abroad — stuff that they really should sell here in Holland.
My number one ultimate food I wish they sold here is (American-made) Kellogg’s Pop Tarts, especially the Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon kind. There’s nothing like it here, and it is my favorite breakfast food. Kellogg’s also makes Pop-Tarts in the United Kingdom (a limited selection of flavors), but those are disgusting; they actually have ‘beef gelatin’ as an ingredient (no kidding, and you can taste it too!).
When I’m in France I always have a freshly made Chausson aux Pomme for breakfast. These small flaky pockets filled with apple sauce are the best thing ever invented by the French. They are absolutely delicious, and they sell them in France, Belgium and Germany. Unfortunately not here in the Netherlands, which is strange considering all the other nice bakery products they make here, and France is the number one holiday destination for the Dutch.
The lack of cereal (like Cheerios, Golden Grahams, Toppas, Grapenuts, etc.) in Dutch grocery stores is absolutely astounding! In all other countries in Europe that I’ve visited I’ve seen aisles with hundreds of Nestle and Kellogg’s cereal, but in the Netherlands all you’ll find (at most stores) is cornflakes and muesli. Dutch people still typically have slices of bread for breakfast, with cheese, meat or jam.
Licorice candy (or ‘drop’) is one of the most favorite types of candy in the Netherlands. There are probably more types of licorice candy sold here than anywhere else in the world. Yet, we don’t have licorice sauce here, something very popular in Finland and Sweden, where they also sell licorice icecream. It’s a peculiar taste to have icecream with the black sauce, but very very nice, and I really think they should sell it here in the Netherlands; I think it’d be a big hit!
Peanut butter (‘pindakaas’) is very popular in the Netherlands, and so is hot peanut sauce (‘sate saus’) as a snack on (skewered) meat or french fries (saté is one of the many Indonesian dishes left over from colonial times). Yet, there is not a single peanut butter (and chocolate) candy here, unlike in the Unites States where Peanut Butter M&M’s and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are extremely popular and have been around for many years. Again, I think peanut butter M&M’s would do really well here.
We have many soda pop drinks available in the Netherlands, all the standard Cola, Sprite and Fanta drinks and millions of variations on those types. But, what we don’t have here is Mountain Dew, a caffeinated sweet citrus-flavored soft drink that is extremely popular around the world. It is available around Europe (Finland, Switzerland, Spain, etc.), as well as in other places in the world (Egypt, Australia, India) … but they don’t have it here in the Netherlands, which is strange because with all those other soft drinks, there isn’t really anything that taste like Mountain Dew. Some stores have American sections with overprices imported products, and sometimes you’ll find Mountain Dew there (or fake Mountain Dew), but in general you won’t find it anywhere.
Many people have jam in their house, it one of the most normal things to put on your bread or beschuit here; it comes in dozens of different flavors, every fruit you can imagine is made into a jam, except grapes — there is no grape jelly in the Netherlands, even though grape jelly is one of the most common jellies in the United States. I’m not particularly a big fan of jam made from grapes, but I do find it odd that they don’t sell it anywhere here, and neither have I seen it anywhere else in Europe. Isn’t that odd?