In spite of being considered a very mature category with little room for additional innovation, in 2017 there was a rising entry of new value proposals within butter and margarine, including higher-end imported brands such as the Danish Lurpak and the American Crystal Farms, developing more interest amongst a widening base of middle- and higher-income consumers, whilst the local Dos Pinos focused on attending the needs of lower-income buyers with more economic line extensions, using the popularity of its Coronado brand to maintain its strong dominance in butter sales. This was very similar to what we saw in margarine performance where imported brands such as Parkay and Blue Bonnet kept gaining shelf space at modern grocery retailers (which as in the case of Walmart also acts as a direct importer of the brand), whilst other added-value imported alternatives also keep being launched at higher-end local supermarket chains such as Automercado.
In 2017, Cía Numar maintained its strong leadership in butter and margarine in Costa Rica with a 64% retail value share. This regional manufacturer continued to benefit from its developed economy-of-scale savings and vertically integrated business model which ranges from palm plantations to the marketing and distribution of multiple categories, allowing it to position its brand Numar as the top-of-mind reference within the margarine and spreads offer, reaching consumers from all socioeconomic segments though very competitive unit prices and broad availability. Ranking second, RL Cooperativa de Productos de Leche Dos Pinos remained the main reference within local butter sales (accounting for a 19% value share), taking advantage of its economy-of-scale savings and consolidated brand position throughout all dairy categories and ice cream.
Butter and margarine is expected to record a 3% value CAGR at constant 2017 prices over the forecast period, slower than the corresponding 4% constant value CAGR achieved during the review period. This scenario can be explained by a combination of mature growth rates in volume terms and the rising orientation towards priced-based competition, as in spite of the emergence of added-value products –especially those with improved health and functional claims – will only be capable of reaching higher-income consumers, having a marginal effect on the overall category’s value performance by 2022.
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