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Canada beats Spain, but China rules all in supermarket world

After toppling U.S., China's grocery sales will reach nearly $1.6 trillion

Canada will narrowly usurp Spain. Turkey will beat Australia. And China will be the undisputed king of grocery.

Those are a few of the projections made in a new sales forecast of the world’s largest 15 food and grocery nations.

In a report, U.K.-based research firm IGD says that China's grocery sales will grow to $1.582 trillion by 2016, up from $1.082 trillion last year (all figures in U.S. currency).

It was only in the last year or so that China breezed by the United States to become the world’s largest consumer of grocery products. In 2012 it also became the first country to surpass $1 trillion in grocery sales.

Thanks to rising wages and a surging middle-class, “the Chinese grocery market has been growing at a rapid pace for several years,” IGD chief executive Joanne Denney-Finch said in a statement.

From 2013 to 2016, China's grocery sales will grow by $500 billion. To put that number into perspective, $500 billion is more than four times the size of the total Canadian grocery market currently.

The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of grocery goods in China from 2013 to 2016 will be about 10%.

The United States, the world’s second largest grocery market, will see its CAGR rise 4.7%, to $1.118 trillion in 2016, from $940 billion in 2012.

Canada, now the world’s 14th largest grocery market, with sales of $111 billion, will leapfrog Spain to become the 13th biggest in the world. Sales are projected to be $133 billion by 2016, a CAGR of roughly 4.2%.

IGD said about half of Canada’s growth (around 2% a year) will come from inflation.

Australia, the world’s 15th largest grocery market last year will fall off the Top 15. By 2016, Turkey will have taken its place.

Japan, however, will experience the biggest fall down the list. Currently the third-largest grocery market, it will fall to sixth place by 2016 as emerging BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) outpace it.

By 2016, all four BRIC countries will be among the world’s Top 5 grocery nations. They, and the U.S., will account for 65% of the world’s overall grocery sales, up from 60% held by the Top 5 last year.

Brazil in particular should see “attractive growth” in the years ahead, thanks in part to it hosting two major sporting events: the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics in 2016.

Those events will present “a further boost for economy and for the performance of retailers and manufacturers operating in the region,” Denney-Finch said.

Here’s a list of the world’s Top 15 grocery markets (in $US billions), according to IGD:

2016 rank and forecast sales (2012 rank and sales)

1. China $1,582 (1. $1,082)

2. United States $1,118 (2. $940)

3. India $566 (4. $375)

4. Brazil $468 (5. $329)

5. Russia $467 (6. $314)

6. Japan $423 (3. $408)

7. France $302 (7. $284)

8. Germany $297 (8. $271)

9. United Kingdom $278 (9. $243)

10. Indonesia $247 (10. $168)

11. Italy $166 (11. $165)

12. Mexico $154 (12. $123)

13. Canada $133 (14. $111)

14. Spain $131 (13. $122)

15. Turkey $128 (--)

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