The 10 brands Preferred by Costa Ricans

Local brands take advantage of consumer preference. While Coca Cola is the favorite brand in the world, it ranks 3rd in Costa Rica


Q COSTA RICA – Ever wonder, when grocery shopping at Automercado, Masxmenos or Pricesmart, for example, why Costa Ricans pick one product over another? In many cases, even paying higher for a national brand over a lesser priced imported.

One example is beer. Costa Ricans will pay more for an Imperial, Bavaria or Pilsen than the lower priced American or European brands. A Pricesmart, for example, an Imperial 18 pack is about ¢12,000 colones, the same price for a 24 pack of Birra Italia (Italian beer).

At Masxmenos, Dos Pinos (Costa Rica) milk sells about ¢800 colones for a litre, while the Sabemas and Eskimo (Nicaragua) brands sell for about ¢200 colones less, yet Costa Rican consumers will mot likely choose the Dos Pinos brand.


The answer lies in the Brand Footprint study by consulting firm Kantar Worldpanel that reveals how consumers in Costa Rica and around the world today are buying Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands.

Kantar Worldpanel follows every two weeks the purchase behavior of 750 households in Costa Rica, capturing information of more than 70 FMCG categories, including Foods, Beverages, Dairy products, Personal Care and Home Care.

The study reveals that “58% of Costa Rican shoppers consider it important to acquire national brands. The local brands with positive movement are Numar and Coronado.”

In fact, six of the top ten brands of choice by Costa Ricans are national, with Dos Pinos at the head of the table. (National brands in bold)

1. Dos Pinos (dairy products)
2. Maggi
3. Coca-Cola
4. Pozuelo (cookies and snacks)
5. Numar (food)
6. Colgate
7. Tang
8. Coronado (milk and dairy)
9. Lizano (salsas)
10. Roma (pasta)

Dos Pinos milk is a favorite among Costa Rica despite being higher priced that other milk products on the grocery shelf

The Dos Pinos number one rank is no surprise. In last year’s report, nine out of every ten Costa Rica households bought Dos Pinos products.

While Coca-Cola remains the world’s most chosen brand (for the fifth year running), in Costa Rica it ranks third.

In order for a brand to obtain a ranking, the study evaluates market penetration, population and the frequency of purchase in Costa Rica households.

The study indicates Costa Ricans are following the global trend of buying national, especially in emerging markets where national brands surpass global brands. The report indicates emerging markets account for 51% of FMCG spend; local brands account for 72% of FMCG market growth in 2016.

Also, in 2016, the price gap between global and local brands has narrowed to the point of disappearing. No longer does being a global brand automatically command a price premium. Global brand owners are having to work harder to convince consumers that a global choice offers additional reassurance of quality and confers prestige.

Regional Ranking

In Central America, Costa Rica brands do pretty well, though shadowed by global brands.

The top 10 in Central America are:

1. Coca-Cola
2. Maggi
3. Pepsi
4. Colgate
5. Natura’s
6. Sula
7. Malher
8. Suavitel
9. Dos Pinos
10. Tang

To be considered in a Regional Ranking, a brand should be available in at least two countries from that region. For instance, Lala number four in the LATAM FMCG ranking, is purchased by Mexican households as well as Central America’s ones.

The annual Brand Footprint study is based on the research of 73% of the world population; A total of 1 billion households in 43 countries on five continents and covering 75% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The measurement is then weighted by actual population to calculate the brand’s reach.

The Brand Footprint data was collected over the 52-week period between November 2015 and October 2016