U.S. Retailers Dominate Global Market

New research by M+M Planet Retail indicates the world's top 30 grocery retailers' combined sales account for almost 10% of the global retail market. Leading the pack is Wal-Mart, whose net sales of $191 billion make up nearly 2% of global retail sales. The Arkansas-based giant "continues to maintain its superiority over its closest competitors due to the sheer size of its domestic operation," says M+M Planet Retail; however, turnover from its overseas operations trails a number of firms in the top 30.

The top 30 retailers have combined sales of more than 1 trillion euros ($844 billion), and among them, eight are U.S. firms, though half of these do not operate on a particularly global level. Only Costco, IGA, Safeway and Wal-Mart operate outside the U.S., and none approach the success of Ahold and Delhaize in foreign channels. Some 84% of Delhaize's sales come from outside its home country, while Ahold boasts 82% in foreign sales.

M+M says both established a "significant" U.S. presence in a short time, "an achievement which speaks volumes in terms of their adaptability and commitment to the market." For Ahold, the U.S. accounted for 58% of its total sales in 2000, up from 28% in 1998. Delhaize's U.S. sales generated 75% of the firm's total sales in 2000.

Looking ahead, M+M Planet Retail sees Latin America, Central Europe, China and Thailand as key battlegrounds for leading international grocery retailers, with Japan, North Africa and the Middle East emerging as potentially strong marketplaces.

Not Just for Thanksgiving Anymore

Marketing research by a University of Massachusetts Dartmouth team reveals the market for cranberries could exceed just traditional Christmas and Thanksgiving applications. According to the survey, the gleaming red berries would find buyers throughout the year if they were processed as popsicles, single-serving juice boxes or energy bars, to name just a few of the possibilities.

As could be expected, the cranberry industry embraced the results. "The work conducted by the university provides an opportunity to develop new and exciting markets for cranberry products, whether you are a small family farm adding value to the products you grow or a large company targeting a whole population of consumers," said Jeffrey LaFleur, executive director of the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers' Association.

The survey also found "significant growth potential for organic berries and juice." In addition, only 30% of respondents were aware of the health benefits of cranberries touted by medical research. Also, males aged 19-35 comprised two thirds of those respondents who were not familiar with cranberries; the report noted this potential market numbers some 60 million who spend close to $100 billion annually.

The team suggested the cranberry industry delve into new product development and establish new markets. New products suggested by respondents included cranberry lemonade, popsicles, toaster pastries and waffles. Among the markets suggested by the research team was the alcohol beverage industry. Lastly, the team advised the use of promotions--on the web or through marketing--to boost cranberries' image and increase sales.