Methodology

See also: Frequently Asked Questions

METHODOLOGY

Updating the online database
Technically, FFT's research and consultancy team maintains this vast in-house database on a daily basis, complemented by annual field surveys in all countries. The present online website database is updated continuously from the main in-house database.
Primary Approach: All countries are surveyed in the field each year by experienced researchers and consultants, during which extensive company and other interviews are carried out, as well as extensive store-checks.

Secondary Approach: FFT also systematically gathers all publicly available data. In particular, company mergers and acquisitions are monitored and included in the database on a daily basis.

Third Approach: In order to present both complete and up-to-date data, FFT carries out detailed projections and estimates based on it's vast knowledge of similar markets. This enables FFT to provide it's clients with the best appraisal possible of each and every market. Consequently, there are no gaps in the market data presented.
Finally, this vast body of data is centralised and unified into FFT's on-going FFT database. This process of reconciliation means that many figures are based on several, often conflicting, sources of information. FFT uses its best judgement in assessing the relative quality of the information from each of these.

The definition above (final human consumption) ensures that there is no double-counting among product markets. In turn, this enables comparisons across all country/product markets on a per capita or unit value or real growth basis, and allows all data to be summed by product, by country, or by category, enabling extensive cross-checking for verisimilitude.

Extensive cross-country comparisons of unit data (e.g. per capita consumption and expenditure, unit price indexes, and so on) can then provide further "built-in" means of verifying the reasonableness of individual country data. In this way "official" data from several countries is frequently "debunked" - e.g. when per capita expenditure for a given product in a given country vastly exceeds that of other countries.

DATA COLLECTION PRINCIPLES

1. End-Use Definition: Final Human Consumption. This ensures NO double-counting and that any and all data can be added up.
2. Wide Coverage: All demand & supply - including retail, foodservice and direct supply - provides a fixed frame into which all elements must fit in a logical manner.

3. The 100% Rule: Company market shares must add up to 100%, and wide coverage, often running to more than 20 companies in a given country and product market, means that all significant supplier market shares must be fitted in, squeezing many major company claims!

4. Cross-checking: To ensure verisimilitude, extensive country comparisons are made of per capita consumption and expenditure, real growth rates, etc., and against 10-year and more historical trends. Data "outliers" are singled out, and if necessary re-checked in the field. Real life "reality" checks, such as supermarket visits, are carried out systematically.

5. Critical Review: Publicly available data - the trade press, associations, government surveys, etc., are exhaustively collected & collated, and many amended or rejected applying the above principles.

6. Original Sourcing: Extensive field surveys, company interviews and store checks are carried out every year, and all data is "fitted" to a realistic overall picture of total supply and demand, creating a unique and original database.

7. Software: Complex, internally-developed computer programs provide a unique dynamic interlocking data grid.

8. Russian Doll: Internal consistency and coherence is provided by data adjusting automatically to data changes elsewhere.

9. Client Feedback: Continual improvements are incorporated in each annual edition at clients' suggestions and remarks, thus fine-tuning the database to market realities.

10. Strategic View: Presentation techniques favouring a multi-country vision of food & drink markets are systematically applied.


KEY DEFINITIONS

Market data: Total market data refer to all products sold for final human consumption in retail, catering and artisanal markets (for example independent craft bakers), thus excluding industrial and intermediate consumption, as well as on-farm (e.g. consumption from domestic gardens or home-made products).

Coverage: Coverage includes branded and distributors' own label products, unbranded (e.g. fresh vegetables, meat or fish) and artisanal/craft supply, with estimates of under-recorded supply (e.g. fresh fish in Italy or the Netherlands), and personal or duty-free imports by travellers (e.g. beer and wine into the United Kingdom and spirits into Scandinavia).

Product: All product markets are carefully defined so as to be comparable across all countries. You can consult the product definitions on this site in six languages (click the "D" button next to each product on the "Product List Page").

Prices: Retail prices (including VAT, excise and other indirect taxes) and foodservice buy-in prices are applied throughout. "Buy-in" prices are the prices at which foodservice outlets (e.g. hotels, restaurants, etc.) pay for their purchases. In particular in the United States, foodservice sales prices do NOT apply. In the United Kingdom, pub prices do not apply, nor do foodservice sales prices in the United States.

Units: Measurement units are standardised, as follows:
Volumes are expressed in thousands of metric tons (tons) or millions of litres. Volume market tables are in actual weights. Conversion rates into RTE/RTD (ready-to-eat/ready-to-drink) data are also provided (e.g. actual weight soluble coffee data can be rounded up by an RTD factor of 55 to get ready-to-drink weights).
Value is calculated at blended retail and foodservice buy-in prices.
Values are expressed throughout in millions of US Dollars or Euros (at the client's choice), including VAT and Excise Tax. Demand tables provide local currency equivalents for the most recent year.

Growth: Growth rates are calculated as follows:
Volume growth rates are expressed in percent growth per annum based on regression analysis, which takes into account not only the first and last years in a five-year series, but also each of the intermediate years.
Nominal value growth rates are calculated in local currency series applying detailed country price index deflators for each product. Note: For countries in the Euro zone, Euro values are converted back to "local" currencies for the years from 1999 onwards to get a coherent five-year growth series.
Co. Shares: Company market shares refer to the total market BY VALUE (as defined above). In the company market share tables, country/product market shares below 3.0% should be treated as indicative.