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Abstract

The food retail business has undergone radical changes in the 21st century because of changing consumer demand in the market. The changes in consumption patterns are largely influenced by higher income and the expenditure on food as a percentage of disposable income, demographic changes, urbanization, improved transportation, trade relations, and consumers' concerns with regards to product quality and food safety. There have been observed differences in the way consumers in developed and developing countries react to income changes. For developing countries, higher income levels foster an increase in the demand for meat products which is why livestock sales have generally improved in developing countries. In more mature markets, consumers are allocating income to high value processed foodstuffs, a wider range of products to choose from, indulgence and better product quality. The demand for organic food products has increased, associated with consumers' beliefs that consuming organic products is the only way they can protect themselves from consuming toxic substances contained in pesticides and veterinary drugs. In addition, consumers require product labeling and product traceability on produce, as quality assurance instruments, to further protect themselves from food safety risks. Affluence in developed countries is giving consumers' the confidence to demand anything from the market as long as they will be paying for their demands. It is therefore important for food retailers to be able to anticipate and respond to the changes in consumer demands.

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