China is set to overtake the US as the largest grocery market in the world by 2014.

Grocery research body IGD’s report 10 for 2010 estimates the Chinese market will be worth €761bn by 2014, compared with the €745bn market in the US.

IGD said the US will lag behind as it has been more severely affected by the global recession than China.

In China investment and consumer spend have both increased, while private sector demand has been driven by the Government’s stimulus package.

In the next four years China’s population growth is expected to double that of the US.

The report finds that the UK will remain in eighth place, with its market growing from EUR170 to EUR198.

It also finds that India will move from fourth largest to third, with a market worth EUR448; Japan is expected to slip one place to fourth, with its EUR360 estimated market; while Russia will move to fifth from sixth, with a market worth EUR332.

IGD chief executive Joanne Denney-Finch said: “Chinese population growth and economic prosperity are contributing to the rise of China as an important grocery market on the world stage. The US and key European markets still offer an important source of growth for food and grocery businesses, but it is becoming harder to ignore the BRIC countries.

“Many retailers and manufacturers are already leading the way, building a strong presence in China and other emerging markets. Those who have not yet invested in these markets should start planning ahead now because the pace of growth for emerging markets will continue to outstrip that of the developed world.”