(Feb. 15, PACKER WEB EXCLUSIVE) Emerging markets should no longer conjure images of open-air produce stalls and mom and pop stands on a street corner.

According to a new report commissioned by the Newark, Del.-based Produce Marketing Association’s International Council, supermarkets in the world’s emerging markets are growing at a much faster pace than developed markets.

The report, “The Supermarket Revolution in Emerging Markets: Implications for the Produce Industry,” says emerging markets in Asia, Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe are growing three to five times faster than those in North America, Japan and Western Europe.

The report was authored by Thomas Reardon, a professor of agricultural, food and resource economics at Michigan State University.

Key factors, including a rapidly expanding middle class, have led to a supermarket boom since the early1990s, according to the report.

Some examples cited include:

  • China had zero supermarket sales at the start of 1990. That increased to nearly $100 billion in 2006;

  • Russia had only a small supermarket presence by the end of the 1990s, but by 2006, it had $19 billion in sales. Its top 15 chains showed a 900% growth rate between 2002-2006;

  • India, where supermarkets consist of about 5% of the retail sector, is projected to increase to 20% in the next 10 years.

“This ground-breaking report is a tremendously valuable resource for anyone looking to expand their global business, offering the most current information on supermarket development in emerging global markets that is available today,” said Danie Kieviet, PMA’s International Council chairman and general manager of Wal-Mart Global Procurement South Africa, Pty., Ltd., in a news release.

The report also outlines the challenges of supplying to these new emerging markets and offers strategies for suppliers interested in developing them.

The 36-page report is available free of charge to PMA members at the organization’s Web site, www.pma.com/cig/intl/internationalMarkets.cfm.