Open to Imports

OTA estimates total organic market consumer sales of Costa Rica at about $3 million USD per year.

QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS

Quick Facts

  • Organic packaged food and beverage consumption in Costa Rica is expected to see a 9.4% CAGR and $0.4mn absolute value growth over the forecast period (2015–2018).
  • Costa Rica’s economy will continue to grow sluggishly in 2016, with real GDP increasing by 2.4% after gains of 2.6% in 2015.
  • Costa Rica has been experiencing a population boom, which will gradually decelerate in the medium term.

General Economic & Demographic Landscape

Economy

  • Costa Rica’s economy will continue to grow slowly, with real GDP growth of 2.4% in 2016 following gains of 2.6% in 2015. The country’s economic performance is closely tied to that of the US economy. Officials plan to raise the public works budget to boost growth, and a strong rebound in exports will also provide support. Infrastructure bottlenecks are a drag, however, and current fiscal trends are probably unsustainable.
  • Infrastructure is in poor condition, but officials are making efforts to improve it. The ports of Limon and Moin on the Atlantic are being modernized. A metropolitan train will go into operation in San Jose in order to alleviate heavy traffic in the urban area. Finally, highway concessions will continue in order to speed up improvements in the transportation system. 
  • Tourism is the country’s largest industry, employing more than 13% of the workforce. It is also the country’s largest earner of foreign exchange. Eco-tourism accounts for nearly 40% of the industry’s revenue in a typical year. An estimated 26% of Costa Rica consists of natural reserves and park systems that help to safeguard much of the world’s biodiversity and the burgeoning eco-tourism industry.
  • Costa Rica’s diversification process was initially led by high-tech computer and electronic industries, services, non-traditional agriculture, and tourism. In the future, it is expected that free trade agreements (including agreements with the USA and China) will drive diversification.

Population demographics

  • Costa Rica has been experiencing a population boom, though it is gradually decelerating. Between 2000 and 2030, the total population will increase from 3.9 million to 5.6 million. Costa Rica’s potential workforce (those between 15 and 64 years old) will grow slightly faster than the total population as a result of the prolonged population boom. 
  • In 2015, the fertility rate was 1.8 children born per female; the indicator will fall to 1.7 by 2030. Women have begun to marry somewhat later in life and therefore are having fewer children.
  • As population growth slows, the percentage of the elderly will rise. In 2015, 7.4% of all Costa Ricans were more than 65 years of age, and the share will rise to 13.0% in 2030.


Income & expenditure: 

  • Costa Rica’s savings ratio has been relatively stable over time. It amounted to 5.9% of disposable income in 2015 and it will stay at that level in 2016.
  • Consumer expenditure has risen in recent years. However, as in other countries in the region, Costa Rica still faces major income inequality. 
  • During the 2015–2030 period, total disposable income will increase by a cumulative value of 84.3% in real terms, growing at an average annual rate of 4.2%.

QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS

Organic packaged food & beverage data

Data type

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

CAGR
(12-15)

CAGR
(15-18)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Health & wellness products consumption

760.2

855.2

854.3

923.1

956.5

993.5

1,034.2

6.7%

3.9%

Organic packaged food and beverages consumption

0.8

1.1

1.2

1.3

1.4

1.6

1.7

17.6%

9.4%

Organic packaged food consumption

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Organic beverages consumption

0.8

1.1

1.2

1.3

1.4

1.6

1.7

17.6%

9.4%

Organic packaged food and beverages consumption as a % of total health & wellness products consumption

0.1%

0.1%

0.1%

0.1%

0.1%

0.2%

0.2%

-

-

Economic & demographic data

Data type

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total population

4.7

4.7

4.8

4.8

4.9

4.9

5.0

% Middle and upper class of total population

33.9%

33.7%

34.1%

34.0%

34.0%

33.8%

33.9%

% Population aged 65+

6.8%

7.0%

7.1%

7.4%

7.6%

7.9%

8.2%

% Population aged 0-14

24.2%

23.8%

23.4%

23.0%

22.7%

22.4%

22.2%

% Population with higher education degrees

17.9%

18.0%

18.1%

18.2%

18.3%

18.3%

18.4%

Average number of children per household

1.1

1.1

1.1

1.0

1.0

1.0

1.0

GDP per capita

9,160.2

9,766.6

10,454.4

10,895.0

11,022.0

11,161.2

11,581.6

Consumer expenditure per capita (US$)

6,375.4

6,815.5

7,275.3

7,543.9

7,619.2

7,723.8

8,024.3

Consumer expenditure per capita on food and non-alcoholic beverages (US$)

1,290.4

1,373.3

1,458.4

1,504.0

1,512.0

1,525.6

1,577.7

Retailer & urban area data

Data category

Rank

Urban Area/retailer

Population 
(mns)

 

 

 

 

Top urban areas by population (2015)

1

San Jose

2.5

Top urban areas by population (2015)

2

-

-

Top urban areas by population (2015)

3

-

-

Top urban areas by population (2015)

4

-

-

Top urban areas by population (2015)

5

-

-

Top grocery retailers by sales (2015)

1

Palí

-

Top grocery retailers by sales (2015)

2

Maxi Palí

-

Top grocery retailers by sales (2015)

3

Walmart Supercenter

-

Top grocery retailers by sales (2015)

4

Mas X Menos

-

Top grocery retailers by sales (2015)

5

Megasuper

-

USDA GATS data

Rank

2015

2014

2013

2012

1

Apples

Apples

Apples

Apples

2

Lemons

Potatoes

Tomato Sauce

Peppers

3

Peach

Peppers

Peppers

Tomato Sauce

4

Pears

Tomato Sauce

Tomatoes

Cauliflower

5

Peppers

Strawberries

-

-

Policy Information

Government Agency(s)/Competent Authority

Authorized Government Agency(s): 

The Department of Accreditation and Registry in Organic Agriculture (DARAO) at the direction of Plant Protection of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock is in charged of legislation implementation

The National Organic Agriculture Program (PNAO) from the Ministry of Agriculture is in charge of the commercialization of organic products.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock's Servicio Fitosanitario del Estado (SFE) handles registration of organic certifiers, farms, and others.

Agency(s) Contact Information: 

PNAO:
Phone: 506-2260-8300 ext 2032
Fax: 506-2260-8300 ext 2088
Email: mcastro@protecnet.go.cr or fecheverria@protecnet.go.cr
Web

SFE
Contact: Blanca Castillo
Email: bcastillo@sfe.go.cr
Phone: 506-2549-3547
Web

DARAO
Phone: 506-2260-8300
Email: webmaster@protecnet.go.cr

Organic Regulations and/or Standards

Name(s) of Regulation and/or Standard: 

Organic Agriculture Regulation Decree No. 29782 - 2001 (in Spanish) modifies No. 25834 of 1997 and 29067 of 2000.
Implementing regulations, passed in 2009: Reglamento para la ejecución e implementación de la ley para el desarrollo, promoción y fomento de la actividad agropecuaria orgánica, No. 8591

Also:
- Environmental Law No. 7554 - 1995/ (Promotion, research and control)
- Phytosanitary Protection Law No. 7664 - 1997 and its Regulation No. 26921-1997 (administrative and legal competence)

Date of Implementation: 

1997

Regulation and/or Standard Scope: 

The production, characterization, processing, packaging, marketing, identification and certification of organic agricultural products, as well as research and extension aspects, should be subject to relevant legislation and the provisions of the regulation.

Imported Products Requirements

Imported Products: 

A Guide for Labeling Organic Products (in Spanish) is available from the PNAO.

Certification and Accreditation

Certification: 

Servicio Fitosanitario del Estado (SFE) maintains a list of accredited certifiers.

Accreditation: 

Certification organizations, inspectors, farms and suppliers must register with the Servicio Fitosanitario del Estado (SFE).

Additional Information

Reference Standards: 

The national control system has been recognized as equivalent by the European Union in 2003, which means that Costa Rica has a third country status according to EU 834/2007 and 889/2008 in the European Union.

Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, plus Panama and the Dominican Republic are benchmarking their standards to a regional organic standard - the Central America Regional Standard. August 2016 these regional standards were put before the World Trade Organization for comment.

Additional Information: 

Costa Rica has an Equivalence Agreement with Canada.

USDA's GAIN Report Costa Rica Food Service - Hotel Restaurant Institutional (2016)
USDA's GAIN Report Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards (2016)
USDA's GAIN Report Costa Rica Exporter Guide (2017)
USDA's GAIN Report Costa Rica Food Processing Ingredients (2016)
USDA's GAIN Report Costa Rica Retail Foods (2016)

Definitions

Review definitions of terminology included in this website.