China Overtakes U.S. to Become World’s Largest Food Market

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WATFORD, United Kingdom—Fueled by rapid economic growth, population and rising food inflation, China has overtaken the United States as the world’s biggest food and grocery retail market, according to market data from food and grocery market analyst IGD. China's grocery sector was worth $970 billion in 2011, while U.S. market value was $913.5 billion.

China's grocery market is forecast to expand to nearly $1.46 trillion by 2015, nearly a threefold increase in value from 2006; the United States is forecast to expand to $1.07 trillion by 2015. IGD predicts Brazil, Russia, India and China will make up four of the top five grocery markets by 2015.

“China’s grocery growth story is phenomenal. Between 2006 and 2015, the Chinese grocery market is forecast to triple in value and to be worth nearly 1 trillion pounds. This rapid expansion has been fueled by three main factors—rapid economic growth, population and rising food inflation," said Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive, IGD. “Despite its various logistical and bureaucratic challenges, China is a crucial growth market for many of the world’s largest grocery retailers. Even beyond the major cities there are huge opportunities: forecasts suggest there will be over 200 Chinese cities with a population over 1 million people by 2025. But given China’s size and diversity, it’s essential not to treat the country as one homogenous market."

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