Indonesia’s Modern Food Retail Sector: Interaction With Changing Food Consumption and Trade Patterns
by John Dyck
, Andrea Woolverton, and Fahwani Yuliati Rangkuti
Economic Information Bulletin No. (EIB-97) 37 pp, June 2012
What Is the Issue?
The economic growth and urbanization in Indonesia over the past
decade has been accompanied by a fast-growing modern retail food
sector and by changes in food consumption patterns. As the world's
fourth most populous country, Indonesia provides a case study of
the relationships among food consumption, sales, trade, and
investment. In this report, we examine changes in food consumption
patterns and measure the growth of modern food retail chains,
packaged food purchases, and food imports in Indonesia during the
What Were the Major Findings?
Indonesian food consumption patterns have changed since the late
1990s, with dairy and meat consumption growing and grain
consumption falling on a per-person basis. Packaged and prepared
food sales have grown strongly. Growth in household incomes and a
sustained shift of population from rural to urban areas have
contributed to these changes. Indonesia's food consumption changes
are consistent with evidence that global food consumption patterns
have been moving toward more meats, dairy products, and sugar.
However, animal product consumption per person remains below the
level of neighboring countries, and calorie intake has changed
little over the last decade of strong economic growth.
While most Indonesians purchase their food from traditional
retail outlets, modern food retail stores sell an increasing share
of food products, particularly packaged goods, to urban consumers.
Sales from modern food retailers increased from about US$1.5
billion in 1999 to over US$5.6 billion in 2009, and their share of
total retail food sales rose from 5 to 11 percent over that period.
Efficiencies in the modern chains do not appear to be forcing
retail food prices down. However, if the modern stores can match
traditional shops on product price, they can attract shoppers by
offering additional value through these attributes. Modern stores
offer refrigeration, air conditioning, and quality assurance that
are usually not found in traditional shops. Refrigeration,
especially for meats and dairy products, helps expand consumption
and address consumers' food safety concerns.
Food imports have grown, but not as a proportion of food
spending. In part, this may be the result of regulations by the
Indonesian Government, which has voiced support for free trade in
goods but often encourages food selfsufficiency in practice.
Farmers sometimes wish to slow or stop competition from imports. At
the border, imports of some products are effectively banned and
many other foods face slow and uncertain import procedures.
Indonesia's requirements for Government-issued registration numbers
for each import can be a particularly serious impediment. Current
plans to restrict the number of ports through which horticultural
imports are allowed to pass could lead to lower imports in the
future. Other regulations limit the location of new large stores.
As a result, modern food retailing in Indonesia faces constraints
in procuring products efficiently from both international and
domestic sources and in obtaining sites for expansion.
Growth in Indonesia's modern retail food sector and ongoing
changes in food consumption patterns are expected to continue. U.S.
agricultural exports to this important market, which already
obtains 20 percent of its food imports from the United States,
stand to benefit from this growth. However, changes in food
retailing and in food consumption patterns in Indonesia have been
slower than in some comparable countries and might occur more
quickly if economic barriers and constraints were removed.
How Was the Study Conducted?
We relied on market information collected by USDA's Foreign
Agricultural Service in Indonesia through May 2012 and additional
interviews by the authors in the cities of Jakarta and Bandung. We
used detailed, recent Indonesian Government data on foreign trade
and data from the market-research firm Euromonitor on the food
retail environment to identify trends and shares. In our report, we
draw on and update previous literature on Indonesia's food