October 7th, 2012 – The Costa Rican government has long-used the concept of the cost of a “family shopping basket” consisting of typical goods purchased for a family in a month, in order to keep an eye on the cost of living in the country. The study, however, can be quite useful in figuring out where to shop, as it reveals drastic price differences between supermarkets as well as different areas of the country.
The most recent study from the Ministry of Economy revealed that the most expensive place to purchase the family shopping basket is the Automercado in Heredia, whereas the cheapest is the Pali supermarket in El Roble, Puntarenas.
The family shopping basket is used to calculate the retail price index. It is calculated by multiplying the average per capita consumption of 52 products, by the average Costa Rican family, which is 3.3 people. The products taken into account include food, cleaning and personal hygiene products.
According to the study, the cheapest family shopping basket is 92,706 colones, and the most expensive one is 116,885.
The second most expensive province for the family shopping basket is San Jose, followed by Guanacaste.
The study took into account 41 supermarkets, which were visited during the months of August and September. Among the 48 products analyzed, there were significant differences in price even of identical products.
For example, bathroom soap ranged between 250 and 562 colones, with a difference between supermarkets of up to 312 colones. Tortillas varied between 300 and 642 colones, and hot dog wieners ranged between 950 and 1,780 colones, depending on where one shopped.