Global demand for fresh food increased by nearly three per cent in volume terms in 2016. This is in line with average growth achieved over the last five years. The Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific were the most dynamic regions displaying growth above the global average. Growing populations and improving disposable budgets are behind the strong performance.
Anastasia Alieva, head of fresh food research at Euromonitor International comments, ‘Demand in Western Europe started to positively change in 2016 departing from a negative growth sustained in the previous five years. Consumers are concerned about obesity, diabetes and heart disease. In response, grocery retailers, such as supermarkets and discounters accelerated their investments in fresh food supply across the borders. Many have re-vamped fresh produce sections, including fresh meat and seafood, fresh fruit and vegetables. Revival of demand for fresh food was also driven by positive media coverage and popular cooking programmes that show the audiences how to cook from scratch in a short period.’
The research also showed that organic fresh food is outperforming its conventional offering in every core market. Consumers who chose to eat healthily, allergy sufferers, parents with young children continue to seek organic products despite their higher price tag. Demand for more natural, cleaner and healthier products drives organic sales not only in developed markets such as US and UK but also developing markets.
Alieva continues, ‘In China, sales of fresh organics increased by almost 30 per cent in 2016 and by over 16 per cent in South Africa despite their high unit prices. Broader availability of organic fresh food through store based retailers, on-line companies and direct sellers made it easier for consumers to find the organic option. Fruits and vegetables performed particularly well. However, the uptake of organic meat was somewhat constrained by price and fish and seafood by a lack of availability.’