Monday, June 25, 2007

Market for local foods to hit $5 billion this year

Packaged Facts report says farmers markets also booming in the U.S.

by Sustainable Food News
June 21, 2007
The “greening” of the American culture and food safety issues is expected to drive sales of fresh and locally grown food sales to $5 billion this year.

A new report from market research publisher Packaged Facts, entitled "Local and Fresh Foods in the U.S.," also said that based on the "exponential growth" of farmers' markets, as well as retail and foodservice initiatives to add more local products to their merchandise mix and menus, locally grown food sales could become a $7 billion business by 2011 – sales were just $4 billion in 2002.

The report defines “fresh foods” as anything that requires refrigeration or has a short shelf life. "Locally grown foods” are those that need to travel no more that one day from their point of production to their point of purchase, according to the report.

"Restaurants, value channels such as drug stores and convenience stores, and even academic food service venues are tuning into the fresh and local consciousness that is taking hold in America," said Don Montuori, publisher of Packaged Facts.

"New trends, including ‘food miles,’ ‘the slow food movement,’ and even ‘locavores’ who eat only locally grown foods, are just beginning to take root in the U.S., and we anticipate these and other trends will swiftly drive growth of local and fresh market foods," he said.

Thanks to growing consumer demand for fresh, locally grown and produced foods, as well as an increased understanding of the importance of maintaining small, sustainable farms on the fringe of urban environments, farmer's markets have boomed in popularity in the United States, the report said.

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