New Insights on Fresh Food

Fresh food industry in 2016

Global sales of fresh food reached 2 billion tonnes in total volume terms 2016. Overall growth of some 3% in 2016 exceeded the performance in the previous year, and was in line with a CAGR of 3% achieved over the 2011-2016 review period as a whole.

Vegetables represented over 34% of total volume sales, followed by fruit (24%) and starchy roots (14%). The fresh food market is predicted to post a CAGR of 4% over 2016-2021, to reach 2.4 billion tonnes.

Developing markets are driving global growth

China was the world’s leading market for fresh food in 2016, with total volume sales of 705 million tonnes and 35% of the global market in 2016.

Asia Pacific and the Middle East and Africa were the fastest growing regions over 2011-2016, with 19% and 18% volume increases, respectively. Asia Pacific alone accounted for 86% of global gains in absolute volume terms.

The Western European market declined slightly in total volume terms between 2011 and 2016, and accounted for 6% of the global market, down from 7% in 2011.


Global Absolute Volume Growth

absolute volume growth, asia pacific versus the rest of the world

Source: Euromonitor International

Vegetables are leading the charge

Globally, vegetables was the best performer in 2016, increasing by 4% and contributing 51% of absolute fresh food volume gains. The success of vegetables was largely attributable to 4% growth in China, which alone accounted for nearly 40% of global fresh vegetables volume sales in 2016.


Absolute Volume Growth of Vegetables

absolute volume growth vegetables by geography 2016

Source: Euromonitor International

Nuts, vegetables and fruits are set to outperform other categories over 2016-2021, thanks to growth in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, and Latin America, where home cooking will continue to boost sales.

Organic fresh food enjoys growing consumer base

Demand for organic fresh food is the strongest in the US, the UK and Japan, where affluent consumers increasingly look for cleaner and more natural products grown or reared under organic farming standards, with less harm to the environment.

China displayed double-digit growth in fresh organics in retail value terms over 2012-2016, mainly on the back of food scares and scandals involving counterfeit goods. Organic credentials are perceived as a guarantee of reliability and premium quality by Chinese consumers.

Most organic lines are offered within fresh fruit, vegetables and meat and their sales often outperform conventionally sourced alternatives. In Japan, for instance, consumption of organic vegetables increased by 4% over 2012-2016, while conventionally grown vegetables declined by 1%.