Despite the increase that has occurred in the last two years in the number of supermarkets, Costa Ricans switch between the large stores and the pulperias (small corner grocery stores) , without preference of one over the other, making it possible for both alternatives to continue in the market.
In Costa Rica, there are an estimated 18.000 pulperias throughout the country. There are two types of pulperia: the counter and the window. In the first, the counter acts as a barrier between the storekeeper and the customer. In the window, the grocer hands over the purchases through a glass window or bars, mostly for security reasons.
A study by GS1, released this week, shows that 67.58% of the consumers surveyed prefer supermarkets for large purchases, on average every 15 days, while 53% shop weekly at pulperias for smaller purchases.
The greater variety of products has allowed pulperias the meet head on with the supermarket and new chains of convenience stores. Changes in esthetics and the addition of fresh produce are added values that allows the pulperia to stay in competition.
90% of the consumers said they always find what the need at the supermarket, a figure that grew 10 percentage points over 2011.
Buying fresh fruit, vegetables and meats at the supermarket is by 77%, while 23% said the prefer to buy vegetables at the “feria” (farmer’s market) and 35% to buy meat at the butcher store.
When it comes to impulse purchases, 44% said they purchase products not on their shopping list, a downward trend from 51% in 2011. Of those consumers who made impulse purchases, 53% said they did so because the products were on sale.
The survey concludes showing that 89% felt that the most important added value of a supermarket was the ability to pay their utility bills. Another added value was the bakery and cafe services.
The survey was conducted in September an took in the responses of 232 persons leaving a store after making a purchase.
Source: El Financiero
The origin of the Pulperia
The pulperia is widespread throughout Central America and the Southern countries, dating back to the 16th century, providing everything that was indispensable for everuday life: food, beverages, candles (candles or candles), coal, medicines, textiles and others.
It was also a social centre of the lower and middle classes. Pulperias were a living expression of the local culture.
Although in some countries in South America, the term pulperia is not common any longer, in Central America, the term is current and puplerias are in the thousands. In Costa Rica, there are an estimated 18.000 Pulperias, in Nicaragua 120.000 and in Guatemala 150.000. In Colombia there are an estimated 400.000 Pulperias, Mexico counts with 650.000 and Brazil has 800.000.