Food & Beverage >> USA

USA Country Market
Insights and Opportunities

Food & Beverage Market

The US market with a population of over 355 million offers opportunities across a diverse range of food products. The market is heavily regulated and highly competitive; therefore quality and innovation are important features for new market entrants.

In 2008, food sales in the US topped US$452 billion. Combined with beverages, the food and beverage category approaches the US$900 billion mark. The US imports approximately 11 per cent of its food.


Natural and organic food: The ageing ‘baby boomer’ population’s demand for nutritious, high-quality food has been the most important food trend in the US in the past decade. According to The Natural Marketing Institute’s 2005 Organic Consumer Trends report, in 2004 the natural and organic food segment generated US$10.9 billion in sales, up 18 per cent from 2003.

The term ‘organic’ has a particular meaning and can only be used if it complies with US regulations.  The US Department of Agriculture provides detailed information on the National Organic Program.

Specialty food: The specialty food segment has attracted growing consumer demand and retailer support as the demographics of the US population change. Formerly considered to be the food of the elite, gourmet foods are increasingly being chosen by mainstream consumers. In the past 10 years, specialty food sales have grown approximately seven per cent per annum. In 2008, retail sales of specialty food grew by 8.4 per cent over 2007 to US$48 billion.

It is estimated that 55 per cent of all specialty food sold are sold via supermarkets. Gourmet/specialty food stores sell 30 per cent, and the remaining 15 per cent is sold by delis, department stores, kitchenware stores, gift stores, warehouse clubs, discounters, mail order and the Internet.

Ethnic food: America is increasingly becoming more multicultural. Food that was once confined to ethnic groups are quickly becoming mainstream favorites. At more than 40 million, the Hispanic population is now the country’s largest ethnic group, and is expected to surge to nearly 50 per cent by 2020. Unsurprisingly, Mexican and ‘Nuevo Latino’ foods are very popular. Salsa, for example, is now the largest-selling condiment in the US by dollar value. Other popular ethnic foods include South East Asian, Indian and Middle Eastern. Sales of ethnic foods are expected to increase 50 per cent over the next decade and generate more than US$75 million in sales.

Convenience food: Americans work more hours than people from any other developed country. This busy, demanding lifestyle causes many Americans to increasingly turn to ‘grab-and-go’ and ‘ready-to eat’ items. Key trends are pre-packaged, value added, easy-to-prepare food with home-cooked/comfort appeal and a superior taste profile. Between 2007 and 2008, snack foods experienced sales growth to 18 per cent.

Healthy food: The demand for food and beverages that support healthy diets, weight loss and busy lifestyles are ever-expanding. As an example, in 2004, retail sales were estimated to be US$16.2 billion, and were forecasted to reach US$20 billion by 2007. Sales in 2008 were nearly $23 billion. Organic food sales are anticipated to increase an average of 18 per cent each year from 2007 to 2010.  More Americans are choosing to consume healthy, high quality food in moderate quantities. From 2007 to 2008, the certified products category of organic, kosher and gluten-free continued to experience impressive growth near 20 per cent annually.

  2012 3rd International Conference on Environmental Science and Development (ICESD 2012)