7 Things I Always Buy In Canada As An Expat Living In The UK

Kraft peanut butter is elite.

Canadian expat Ali Millington in front of the Holly Bush pub in London, UK

Canadian expat Ali Millington in front of the Holly Bush pub in London, UK.

Ali Millington | Narcity

Newcomers to Canada quickly find out that there are a number of things — from Canadian food and drink items to cultural quirks and nuances — that are unique to our country.

As a Canadian who has lived out of the country for the majority of the last 10 years, it’s now also apparent to me that Canada simply does some things better than other countries — and that even beyond real maple syrup and Tim Hortons coffee, there are things that are hard (or even impossible) to find elsewhere.

I currently live in London, England, but visit Canada every few months for work or to see family and friends. Every time I do, there are a few must-have items I stock up on — such as leaving 1kg in my suitcase for a jar of Kraft Peanut Butter.

Here are the things, from food to toiletries, I always buy in the Great White North as a Canadian who moved to the UK.

1. Kraft Peanut Butter

kraft light peanut butter

Kraft Light Peanut Butter.

Ali Millington | Narcity

As a self-confessed peanut butter addict, I had to shift to the natural stuff years ago to cut down on my sugar intake — but even now, there are times when nothing will do but Kraft Light Peanut Butter.

I’ve never found another peanut butter product that captures the same creaminess and sweetness — it’s quite simply one of the only things I would happily eat every single day if I could.

Naturally, it doesn’t exist in the UK — and brands like Jif and Skippy are also hard to come by, though they provide a suitable substitute when strictly necessary.

There are some great natural peanut butter brand options like Pip & Nut and Meridian, but the less-healthy choices in England simply don’t compare. They tend to be grittier and not as sweet.

Every time I’m home, I leave at least 1kg in my suitcase (you can’t take peanut butter as a carry-on) for that plastic jar I’ve known and loved since I was a kid, recognizable thanks to those cute little bears on the front. Kraft PB is where Canadian food peaks in paste form.

2. Coffee Creamer

silk almond for coffee creamer

Silk almond coffee creamer.

Ali Millington | Narcity

It always surprises Canadians to hear that liquid coffee creamer doesn’t exist in the UK. Most people drink their coffee with milk, and cream often isn’t even an option at a cafe.

While I typically go for a Cappuccino, Flat White, or Americano when ordering coffee out of the house, there’s something super comforting (and delicious) about having coffee with creamer at home.

My favorite is the dairy-free Silk creamer made with almond milk, which comes in classic flavors like vanilla or limited editions like maple, and I always pick up a small carton when I’m shopping for food in Canada.

It doesn’t last long, though, and I once had such a strong craving that I spent £12 ($20) ordering some single-serve cups of Coffee Mate on Amazon. Desperate times call for desperate measures, right?

3. Salad Dressing

pc blue menu caesar salad dressing

PC Blue Menu Caesar salad dressing.

Ali Millington | Narcity

Salad culture just isn’t the same in Britain. Yes, of course, people eat salads — but North Americans are obsessed with salads, as evidenced in the fast food options and the condiment aisles across major grocery chains.

You can track down some super-expensive dressings or low-tier flavors like French at health stores or some grocery stores, but otherwise, you’re stuck with Salad Cream (don’t even ask).

As a regular salad-eater, I try and pack a few low-calorie Kraft or PC Blue Menu dressings (see: Caesar, Balsamic, Greek) in my food-packed suitcase from Canada for when that craving hits and I just don’t feel like making my own.

4. Granola Bars

madegood granola bars

MadeGood granola bars.

Ali Millington | Narcity

Sorry to disappoint you, Nanaimo bar enthusiasts, but I always prefer a granola bar.

Canada is home to endless granola bar brands, flavors, and varieties — whether you’re looking for something relatively healthy or something covered in chocolate (basically a dessert in disguise).

You CAN find granola bars in the UK, but the range is pretty limited, so I love picking them up from Canadian food stores — Made Good makes some of my favorites — to throw in the cupboard for an easy to-go snack.

5. Melatonin

melatonin bottle


Ali Millington | Narcity

Melatonin is a staple in my sleep regime, particularly when traveling, which I do a lot.

A hormone supplement used to encourage sleep, I take it when I’m adjusting to a new time zone, or when I’m going through a period of insomnia.

However, as the NHS website notes, while it’s available to buy in stores or online in countries like Canada, it’s not authorized for sale in the UK unless you have a prescription.

Buying a bottle every other visit or so usually sees me through and is always worth remembering.

6. Kraft Dinner

Boxes of Kraft Dinner at Dollarama.Boxes of Kraft Dinner at Dollarama.Patrick John Gilson | Narcity

There’s a common theme in this list, and it’s Kraft.

KD is an absolute staple in any Canadian childhood, and it became a guilty pleasure through to adulthood. The neon color, fake cheesy flavor, and minutes-to-make method result in the perfect hangover food (but drink responsibly).

As my colleague Janice Rodrigues recently discovered when she tried it for the first time as someone who moved from Dubai to Canada in 2022, it’s “welcome comfort food” and tastes “surprisingly better than expected.”

While I’ll admit that I haven’t bought it in the last few years (I decided it was time to cut down my consumption when I turned 30), for the first few years I was in the UK, I always packed a few boxes when I came back.

For a while, it was often what visiting friends brought me as a present from home, and I’d enjoy making it for British friends to see their reactions (especially when I topped it with ketchup).

7. Stick Deodorant

lady speed stick deodorant

Lady Speed Stick deodorant.

Ali Millington | Narcity

Brits love a spray-on or roll-on (note: wet) deodorant. While I’ve tried to get on board with both over the years, neither cut it for me and just never feel as effective as a good ol’ Lady Speed Stick.

I stock up on a couple every time I’m in Canada, because who doesn’t love smelling like watermelon or strawberries when they sweat?

Fellow Canadian expats — what do you always stock up on when you return home? I'd love to hear from you — let me know in the comments!

Alison Millington
Ali Millington is the Editor-In-Chief for Narcity Media Group and is based in London, UK.