The intake of carotenoids is associated with antioxidant properties and some of these substances have activity of pro-vitamin A. This study aimed to estimate the intake of carotenoids (average values) by the Brazilian population focusing on beneficiaries of the 'Bolsa Família' Program and identify the dietary sources, according to the purpose and degree of processing and the inclusion of food additives. The database used is the personal food consumption module of the Household Budget Survey of 2008-2009, conducted by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics. The content of carotenoids in foods was obtained primarily from a National data source. Food products were classified into three categories: 1) fresh and minimally processed foods; 2) processed foods (containing food additives, except for flavoring and coloring agents); and 3) highly processed foods (containing flavoring and coloring agents). Insufficient intakes were identified for the conditional cash transfer program beneficiaries (3,547.1 µg). Fresh and minimally processed foods supplied between 48.6% (for girls) and 65.7% (for male adults) of pro-vitamin carotenoids. Processed foods were sources of between 55.5% and 57.0% of lutein + zeaxanthin for elderly and between 58.0% and 67.8% of lycopene for adults. Highly processed foods contributed to less than 5.0% of total carotenoids.