At the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) Outlook Conference in London last week, Nick Miles, Asia-Pacific region manager for IGD, told delegates that Asia’s growing demand for meat, coupled with its evolving grocery market meant prospects were positive for exporters, with the overall grocery market expected to see year-on-year growth of 8.5% between now and 2020.
Miles described the continent’s grocery markets as "rising up the ranks in terms of world importance", with meat consumption set to achieve a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13% between 2014-2020. This compared to a CAGR of 3% predicted for Europe, 8% in North America, 11% in Oceania and 22% in Africa.
Within Asia itself, Japan was forecast to see a CAGR in meat consumption of 1%, 9% in Korea, 10% in China – driven by increasing demand for pork, 19% in India and 20% in south-east Asia.
Trends in the Asian retail market included a focus on communicating the quality and provenance of meat products. This featured imagery to show where the meat has come from, and how it was raised. Traceability was also an increasing focus, with some retailers offering consumers the ability to scan QR codes on-pack to find out which farm the animal came from, as well as other information, such as recipe tips.
While the Asian retail market was a mix of the modern and traditional, international meat products were playing an increasingly important part, with their exclusivity a key selling point, said Miles.
Traditional markets looked set to remain popular due to their more personal service and convenience for some who don’t want to have to travel far to buy their groceries, particularly in traffic-congested cities such as Beijing.
However, when it came to modern retail, things were moving fast, with mobile commerce growing in popularity as people using their smartphones more and more for make everyday tasks easier.
The population in Asia was also growing rapidly, with 59.5% of the world’s population expected to be living there by 2020 – 54% of which are expected to be ‘middle class’, he said.
Miles explained that fierce competition meant retailers wanted to differentiate. However, trends will obviously vary based on the specific market exporters are looking at, so local understanding is key to success.
He said that while in Japan there were a relatively large number of smaller retailers that control the market, in countries like the Philippines national retailers dominated, and in China there was such huge fragmentation that there was no clear domination.
Overall, data suggested that supermarkets were seeing less success, while domestic and regional retailers were leading the way in terms of growth. Only five of the top retailers in Asia were headquartered outside the continent, including Walmart, Carrefour and Tesco, he added.