In grocery stores in the US, the following things are known as "cases" of different kinds:

  • Some are refrigerated but have no glass or doors, so that customers can select what they want directly:

    enter image description here

  • Others have glass on the front, so only employees can access the products (from the back):

    enter image description here

  • Others have doors that the customers can open:

    enter image description here

My understanding is that the Spanish word vitrina can be used as a translation of "display case," but it appears to me that its use is normally limited to cases that have glass on the front. If that's true, then vitrina could only be used to describe the second and third images above.

What is the term used in the grocery industry to describe these types of cases, especially the first image above? I'm particularly interested in what vocabulary would be used in Mexico and Latin America generally, if that matters.

  • 1
    FWIW, I wouldn't use vitrina for any of those. A vitrina is either a piece of furniture for display purposes, as what you may find in a museum, or a window shop. It would be a bit of a stretch to call the second one a vitrina, and not appropriate for the third one. This would come closer to a vitrina.
    – Yay
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 15:21
  • BTW, my previous comment applies to Spain.
    – Yay
    Commented Jun 16, 2016 at 7:15
  • FWIW, I've seen all three called vitrina refrigerada in Chile.
    – Rafael
    Commented Aug 25, 2016 at 16:57

5 Answers 5


En España la primera imagen y la tercera imagen se llaman frigorífico.

La segunda lo llamaría mostrador.

  • 1
    Similar en Colombia, pero a las tres imágenes en lugar de frigorífico les decimos "enfriador"
    – DGaleano
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 18:57

They are vitrinas because they have windows and are for display purposes. You have to add de adjetive refrigerador

Searching in the web pages of companies that sell them, I see that the word most used for the third one is armario refrigerador

  • 1
    In Chile: vitrina refrigerada.
    – Rodrigo
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 16:04
  • In Argentina, it would be an heladera exhibidora.
    – JMVanPelt
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 3:42
  • We also use vitrinas in Colombia.
    – DGaleano
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 19:38

In Peru we use "exhibidora", for cases used in supermarket

for this:


I heard "góndola" or "góndola refrigerada"



  1. m. Mueble en que se expone algo a la vista del público, generalmente para su venta.



  1. f. expositor (‖ mueble).



In México you could call all of them as refrigerador. Like in the USA the refrigerated items are grouped together in a zone; we call it zona de refrigeradores or área de refrigeradores.

However, if you need to be more specific, these are the terms used.

photo 1)
- Estante frío or estante refrigerado (because it doesn't have a glass on the front)

photo 2)
- Vitrina (opposite as photo 1), can also be regarded as vitrina refrigerada

photo 3)
- Refrigerador.

The case in the third photo it's also a vitrina but we call it refrigerador because of the rectangular prism form. You could call it refrigerador vitrina but is almost redundant because if it's inside a grocery store, it is expected to have a glass door.

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