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The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

Only in Brazil: Discoveries in a Foreign Supermarket

A+supermarket+in+Brazil
Luciana Zaiet
A supermarket in Brazil

One of my favorite things about traveling abroad are the supermarkets: How does a country translate packages for foods and snacks we commonly see in America? What do they have for sale that you can’t easily find anywhere else? A critical part of a country’s culture is its food. As such, exploring foreign supermarkets is a window into a country’s customs and daily life.

Typically, I travel to Brazil over winter break to visit family, where I live at my grandparents’ house for a week or two. Luckily for me, my grandmother always makes it a point to go to the supermarket every single day, so I had plenty of opportunities to document my findings. Below are some examples of grocery store products I found, from originals to Brazilian counterparts of American products.

  1. Uncle Ben’s? Don’t know him. It seems that Uncle Ben is facing some competition with his Brazilian counterpart, “Tio João” (or “Uncle John” in English).

  1. Toddy-ly your average chocolate milk

Popular in Brazil, this chocolate drink mix is produced by PepsiCo in South America. It’s pretty much your average sugary chocolate milk powder, like Ovaltine or Nesquik. It’ delicious and kids love it. The cow mascot is a main component of their advertising (she’s even the “manager” of their Instagram account), and I must admit she is memorable if not quite terrifying.

  1. Negresco is looking really familiar…

In the days before Oreos came to Brazil, Nestlé created their own, original Brazilian version: Negresco. I feel the resemblance is quite clear.

    4. But Oreos are looking a little different.

Unlike the big packages we’re used to here in the States, Oreos in Brazil are sold in thin tubes! This one’s an internationally exclusive flavor as well: “Strawberry Milkshake.”

  1. Panquinho’s Twinkie monopoly: Panco is a Brazilian baked goods and snacks brand. As authentic American Twinkies are very hard to find, these “Panquinho” (“Little Panco”) cakes are the closest possible thing to the iconic American original.

     6. Lacta’s chocolate creations

Lacta was originally a Brazilian chocolate company later bought by Mondelez. The influence of Mondelez, which also owns Nabisco, can be seen in products like this Oreo-flavored Lacta bar. Lacta sells a variety of chocolate bars like this one under the “Lacta” name, as well as one of my personal favorite Brazilian snack foods, Bis (which interestingly enough, has an Oreo version as well!)

    7. Bis, which can be translated from Portuguese as “encore,” is rumored to have been named this because everyone who eats just one wants to have more. Bis is a chocolate wafer biscuit that resembles a KitKat in look and taste.

  1. No cream cheese for you

Though you can find Philadelphia brand cream cheese on Brazilian supermarket shelves, Brazilians still tend to flock to their original “requeijão” as the cheesy spread of choice. It’s significantly creamier than American cream cheese, almost like melted Velveeta, and has a hint of sweetness. The taste is very unique, and there’s nothing I’ve ever encountered in the U.S. quite like it.

  1. Mr. Clean’s more muscular cousin

A British brand later purchased by S.C. Johnson, Mr. Muscle, translated into Portuguese as “Mr. Musculo,” seems to have replaced Mr. Clean as the figurehead for cleaning products in Brazil.

 

  1. Random flip-flops Have you ever seen flip-flops for sale at a grocery store? It shouldn’t be too surprising, since these are quite convenient to have in subtropical climates.

Next time you’re in a foreign country, make sure to visit a supermarket and take a look around: you might be surprised at how many interesting things you will find, and you’ll learn more about the culture along the way.

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About the Contributor
Luciana Zaiet, Staff Writer
Luciana is a sophomore from Edgemont, NY, and is double-majoring in English and German. She began writing for The Student in the fall of her sophomore year. In her free time, you can find her drawing, crocheting, learning the guitar, taking walks or just spending time outdoors.

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  • P

    Penny Wong-CarlosFeb 13, 2024 at 6:49 PM

    Loved this article! We thought our daughter was the only one at Bates with family in Brazil.

    Reply
  • M

    MikeFeb 1, 2024 at 3:49 PM

    The flip-flops are always near the counter in every supermarket in Brazil. I find that ultra convenient, as this tends to be an item I usually forget, as I wear sneakers all the time. Due to its ubiquity , it’s an item whose price is really low. You will even find this in non beach areas. In the interior of Minas or São Paulo

    Reply