Market for local foods to reach $5 billion in 2007

by Staff
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NEW YORK — Food safety issues and an increasing concern of "green" culture in America are both factors driving growth in fresh and locally grown food sales.

According to "Local and Fresh Foods in the U.S.," a new report from market research publisher Packaged Facts, locally grown food sales are expected to jump from around $4 billion in 2002 to $5 billion in 2007.

"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."

Packaged Facts estimates locally grown foods could turn into a $7 billion business by 2011 due to the growth of farmers’ markets as well as retail and food service initiatives to add more local products to their merchandise mix and menus.

Consumers not only are looking for local and organic fruits and vegetables, but fresh meats, seafood, dairy and baked goods as well. Retail sales of fresh foods were $230 billion in 2005 and in 2006 fresh produce exceeded fresh meat as the top-selling department of perishables.

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