Total volume sales of fresh food increased by 3% in 2011, surpassing 1.9 billion tonnes. India, Russia and Brazil drove overall volume sales growth, outperforming the wider global marketplace. Rapid economic growth in the likes of China, India and Brazil is boosting disposable incomes. This in turn means that consumers can afford to eat a more varied diet and increase their consumption of preferred foods, especially meat. Economic uncertainty in Western Europe continues to threaten further gains for fresh food. Consumers in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and UK are increasingly buying less and shopping more selectively.
Fresh food volume consumption during 2011 was among the strongest in the emerging markets of Eastern Europe and Asia Pacific. In both regions there remained an abundance of fresh produce as well as a persistently strong culture of home-cooking and eating fresh food. By contrast, fresh food consumption in Western Europe and North America remained notably lower thanks to busy lifestyles and stronger consumer preferences for the convenience of packaged/processed food.
The developed markets of North America and Western Europe will continue to see lacklustre growth to 2016, with developing markets of Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe and Latin America remaining the drivers of the global fresh food market.
Improving retail distribution in developing markets betters availability of fresh food as retailers and food companies alike continue to expand into under-developed rural and semi-urban areas.
Socio-demographic changes in developed markets of Western Europe and North America, such as a rising number of working women and single person households, are driving consumers from fresh to processed food
Fresh food consumption in North America fell during 2011 due to continued consumer preference of packaged/processed food and relative affordability of eating out especially in fast food outlets.
Leading retailers and manufacturers in developed markets are focusing on making fresh food more appealing to consumers by introducing packaging solutions increasing convenience of cooking and handling, prolonging freshness and reducing waste.