The World Market for Fresh Food

February 2021

This report is a global overview of the fresh food industry, examining and comparing the performance of fresh food categories across regions and markets. It explores 5-year forecasts for each category and identifies five key trends driving major developments, including in-depth analysis of the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the fresh food industry worldwide.

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Key Findings

Heeding healthy eating’s importance

The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated to consumers that eating healthily really is a matter of supreme importance; those with poor health who contracted the virus were more likely to suffer negative outcomes. While vaccinations offer hope, a psychological legacy of the pandemic will be that many consumers continue to look to food to ensure health for the next “it will never happen” health crisis.

Rediscovering the kitchen

Restrictions on consumer movements (eg lockdowns, social distancing restrictions) meant eating occasions shifted into the home and cooking increased, with a positive impact on fresh food sales. While such restrictions may end if vaccinations succeed, the economic impact of the pandemic will likely have a longer-lasting impact here – less disposable income means less eating out.

Going online

COVID-19 accelerated (already growing) e-commerce grocery sales, as consumers’ ability to visit stores became limited and, in some cases, curtailed. Alongside greater use of modern grocery retailers’ facilities and third party delivery services, direct-to-consumer and subscription models also grew, especially as suppliers pivoted once their sales to foodservice were reduced as restrictions hit home.

Considering animals in the food chain

Plant-based alternatives received a boost as the pandemic highlighted human reliance on animal protein (as the virus’s origins became known). Closures of meat processing plants through COVID-19 infections reinforced this.

Looking for local

Motivations behind looking for local grew during the pandemic, with considerations around food security also coming into play. Consumers saw vulnerabilities in supply chains and seeking local became a way of ensuring that food would be there, while also meeting any demand for comfort, nostalgia and supporting the local economy.

Introduction

Scope
Examining five trends shaping fresh food
COVID-19: impact on fresh food

Global Outlook

Total sales volume turns negative thanks to pandemic-driven restrictions
Fruit and vegetables continue to dominate global consumption
APAC and MEA most dynamic; North America to retain its sweet tooth
Vegetables and fruit sales growth ahead
Population growth and regulatory moves power top growth markets
Pandemic reinforces larger stores’ strengths

Top Five Trends Shaping the Industry

COVID-19 themes and their impact on fresh food
Examining five trends shaping fresh food
Healthy eating boosts fresh food retail sales
COVID-19 causes cooking to grow, driving sales
Online grocery sales surge in 2020
Case study: big and small both look to DTC
Pandemic creates more scrutiny of human consumption of animals
Localisation confers increased feelings of security
Case study: CrowdFarming

Impact of COVID-19

Fresh food under the COVID-19 scenarios
The future: health-driven demand over economic difficulties
Health through food supports forecast growth
Outlook suggests fresh food success

Market Snapshots

Global snapshot of eggs
Global snapshot of fish and seafood
Global snapshot of fruits
Global snapshot of meat
Global snapshot of nuts
Global snapshot of pulses
Global snapshot of starchy roots
Global snapshot of sugar and sweeteners
Global snapshot of vegetables
Regional snapshot: Asia Pacific
Regional snapshot: North America
Regional snapshot: Latin America
Regional snapshot: Western Europe
Regional snapshot: Middle East and Africa
Regional snapshot: Eastern Europe
Regional snapshot: Australasia

Appendix

Definitions
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