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Introduction to the Food & Beverage Industry, Business and Industry Trends Analysis

The global food and agricultural industry for 2022 totaled about $10.5 trillion, according to Plunkett Research estimates, or about 10% of the world’s GDP.  Global food exports totaled about $1.8 trillion, per the World Trade Organization.  While it is obvious that food is of equal importance to all people on planet Earth, the relative cost of that food is not equal.  It varies widely due to such influences as location, local food industries and the availability of proper infrastructure for food transportation and storage.
Households in well-developed nations such as the U.S. Canada, Singapore and countries in Europe, spend a relatively modest portion of household income on food, typically 11%-15%.  In less-developed nations, such as Pakistan, Nigeria and the Philippines, food may account for more than 40% of spending, making it hard for families to invest in education or health care.
In America, the average household spent $7,316 on food in 2020, down significantly from $8,169 during 2019, and $7,923 in 2018.  That included $4,942 spent on food for at-home dining, and $2,375 for dining out.
The retail grocery store and supermarket industry in the U.S., with about 49,531 stores, totaled about $946.6 billion in revenues during 2022, according to U.S. Department of the Census figures.  However, food products and beverages in America and elsewhere are sold at a wide variety of stores other than supermarkets.  To get the full U.S. picture, it is important to consider food and beverage sales at 67,673 non-traditional food-sellers such as wholesale clubs and dollar stores, estimated at $550 billion by Plunkett Research as well as about $200 billion in revenues at 150,174 convenience stores (not including convenience store gasoline sales).
The National Restaurant Association estimated that, for 2022, its industry employed, in the United States, 14.5 million people at more than 1 million restaurants.  Estimates of total food industry revenues can vary widely due to many factors.  For example, a large portion of supermarket sales is made in non-food items such as drugs and personal care goods, and many types of non-food stores sell small amounts of specialty food products.  Also, the National Restaurant Association’s estimates of total annual revenues are always higher than figures gathered by researchers at the Census, and both groups may miss part of the revenues generated by caterers and other non-traditional prepared food sellers.  
Outside the U.S., food retailing has become more diverse and sophisticated in emerging markets.  For example, modern convenience stores are widespread in major Asian cities, such as the large number of highly popular 7-11 stores found in Thailand.  Also, discount stores that sell food products, among other items, are increasingly popular, evidenced by the rapid growth of Walmart in Mexico, and the continuing fast spread of stores in China owned by Walmart and its competitors.  Nonetheless, outside of the major cities, much of the food retailing in emerging markets is conducted by very modest local markets, often run as family operations.
Restaurant food sales are spreading very quickly in the emerging world as well.  For example, U.S. fast food brands KFC and Pizza Hut grew very quickly in China, with thousands of units in locations ranging from the giant metropolises such as Shanghai and Beijing to remote, smaller cities of growing importance.  The success of U.S. fast food outlets, as well as Starbucks, spawned a great number of domestic competitors within China.  Africa is the next frontier in fast food and food retailing in the emerging world.
U.S. farm sector values for crops, livestock and other products were projected to be $586.2 billion in 2022, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  America’s agricultural sector enjoyed $171.4 billion in exports in 2022.  U.S. agricultural imports in 2022 were $185.8 billion.
Aquaculture (fish farming) produced an estimated 179 million tons of fish globally in 2019, up from only 66.1 million tons in 2010, according to Plunkett Research estimates and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. This production is growing quickly.  By 2030, aquaculture is projected to provide two-thirds of total fish for human consumption. Fish farming is extremely active in the U.S. as well as in nations such as the Philippines, China, Norway and Vietnam.  Tilapia, salmon and shrimp are among the leading products.

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