Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dos Pinos….Setting the Dairy Standard in Costa Rica!

Spend only hours in Costa Rica and you are still likely to come across the ubiquitous brand of Dos Pinos. Easily the most popular and profitable Dairy Operation in Costa Rica (and much of Central America), their milk, ice cream, yogurts, cheeses and other varied list of dairy (and other) products can be found in every Costa Rica Hotel, business, restaurant and private household in the county, crossing over all social classes.

Corporate Mission:
“To manufacture and market, ethically and professionally, products with high nutritional value for our current and potential consumers, maintaining the highest quality and level of service provided by employees committed to our values and the use of the best technology available.”

Corporate Information:
A market leader in the production of foods, consisting mainly of dairy products, Dos Pinos is committed to their consumers, clients, suppliers, producers, and employees to maintain the high standard they have set for themselves since the 1940’s. Some handy stats about the company:
• Number-one company in National sales
• Process 85% of commercial milk in Costa Rica
• Main provider of raw material for both dairy and beef cattle
• Enterprise voted as one of the Best Work Environments
• Named Costa Rica’s Top Business of the 20th century
• Awarded the nation’s Best Exporter (2004)
• One of the most outstanding dairy production businesses in Latin America, according to Nutrition Magazine, which named Dos Pinos “Central America’s Little Giant”.

The new spacious Dos Pinos facility in El Coyol de Alajuela, spreads across 21 hectares of land and is the successful culmination of an initiative started in 1947. At that time, a group of 25 milk producers decided to form the Dairy Producers Dos Pinos Cooperative, R. L., in order to avoid pricing abuses in the supply of raw materials for milk production and with the goal in supporting smaller dairy farmers. Consisting of some 1,300 affiliate producers throughout the country, Dos Pinos now employs more than 2,600 people, processing 85% of the commercial milk in the country. Equal to using around 220 million kilos a year, with more than 300 different dairy products available, specialists in the history of Costa Rican & International dairies recognize that the success of the original dairy producers initiative, was only possible thanks to the positive environment, both political and natural, of the country of Costa Rica.

As the years have passed, Dos Pinos has transcended the borders of Costa Rica, and it currently markets it’s products in Nicaragua, Honduras, San Andrés, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, Guatemala, Panama and the United States. After great effort, and by paying attention to the tastes and the cultures of possible consumers, Dos Pinos has successfully begun to dominate most of these expanding markets. In order to achieve this, the consistency of the Dos Pinos Cooperative's production has continually fulfilled the expectations of the expanded cross border market, guaranteeing their sucess. This once again has enabled Dos Pinos to be recognized in 2002 as a leader with the “Excellence in Exportation” (Mérito Exportador) award.

Looking back on the history of Dos Pinos, in the first four years of operation, the new Cooperative produced only food for the country's livestock, a role it still plays today. `With 200 affiliates at this point, the Cooperative decided to acquire a lot in Barrio Luján, to buy machinery, and to build its own building, with the goal of eventually installing a processing plant for their dairy products. The mark of distinction was the name Dos Pinos (Two Pines), which was created for it’s growing number of products such as cheese and butter, which were being found more and more on the tables of Costa Ricans. Although the animal feed factory was inaugurated one year after its establishment, it was in 1952 when the first milk and butter processed and pasteurized in the company plant were sold. In 1953 the gears of the first ice cream plant started to turn. The Cooperative saw substantial growth from this point on, to include the implementation of the first processing plant for powdered milk, donated by the UNICEF, in 1955; the production of chocolate milk in 1958; and the establishment of the cheese plant in 1959.

In the 60s, four important stand out products emerged. The ever popular Pinito fortified milk, egg nog (known as Rompope), and the famous ice cream pops, Cremoletas and Chocoletas. The previous year was also a productive one, as the first yogurt was put on sale, milk was packed in cardboard cartons, and ripe cheese was put on the market. The year 1967 saw the construction of what would undoubtedly become an important stimulus to the rural economy: the Milk Receiving Center in San Carlos, while at the same time, the first refrigerated trucks begain selling Dos Pinos products outside the greater San Jose area to mark the beginning of a vast distribution channel for it’s ever widening selections of products across the Caribbean and Central American continent.

From the 1970s on, the development of the Dos Pinos Cooperative had become unstoppable. The company, now thriving on a growing profit margin, started the production of sour cream, buttermilk, dulce de leche (a type of caramel), Certomy, a cereal with powdered milk, and the ice creams Krunchy Krisp and Queque Helado (Ice Cream Cake). They then expanded slightly out of the dairy product area with the arrival of orange juice (to be followed by many other juices), enabling the expansion of additional milk-receiving centers in Tilarán, Zarcero, and the official inauguration of the San Carlos Powdered Milk Plant. This continued on through the 80’s & 90’s and continues to this day, with the ongoing modernization of all aspects of the Dos Pinos operation and the continual addition of a new and ever expanding list of products.

Environmental Management:
Dos Pinos being aware of it’s corporate footprint and the importance of preserving and taking care of the environment, has implemented a variety of programs and projects that reinforce their commitment to the environment. They are continually working on the reduction of emissions, and the use of high technology for their wastewater treatment, both serving as a part of a system of cleaner production, which has shown impressive results. Utilizing a System of Environmental Administration which allows Dos Pinos to monitor, minimize and control the impacts of its daily activities, while fulfilling national and international regulations, the company prides itself on creating a healthy and safe work environment for all employees. With their eyes on the future of the company, Dos Pinos has been working to obtain the coveted ISO 14001 certification for all of it’s production plants, reaffirming it’s Corporate environmental and quality commitment.

So……whether you live here in Paradise, are on vacation in Costa Rica, or have traveled to Central America previously and seen or tasted one of the many Dos Pinos products,
this company is one of the few in Costa Rica that year after year gains more market share and garners more awards for their consistent commitment to quality and high customer service standards. It is their ongoing commitment to quality assurance that gave rise to Dos Pinos choosing the company slogan “Always something better”, as a symbol of their ongoing efforts to improve, while encouraging each individual worker to bring these words to life each and every day.

Now? After all that, I’m hungry and you probably are too, so head to the local “Pulperia” (corner market) and buy some of that Dos Pinos ice cream now! So yummy and easily found literally ANYWHERE in Costa Rica!!

Kimberly Barron, originally from Malibu, California has lived in Parismina and Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica for 20 years. Starting as a certified tour guide, she spent 15 years managing fishing lodges on the Caribbean Coast and later 4* & 5* Hotels on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Currently semi-retired, Kimberly still works as the Marketing Director for Byblos Resort & Casino and Hotel Makanda by the Sea.


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