NAFB News Service
New data from USDA’s Economic Research Service shows food retail concentration increases as geographic area shrinks.
The food retail market comprises individual firms, such as grocery stores or supercenters, that sell food products to consumers. The concentration of these retailers’ shares of the market increased over the last three decades at the national, state metropolitan statistical area and county levels in the United States.
USDA uses the HHI index to calculate concentrations. HHI values range from 0 to 10,000, with higher values reflecting higher levels of market concentration, fewer firms, or increasing disparity between the size of the firms in the market.
On average, food retail concentration is higher at the metropolitan statistical area level than at the national level, and concentration is even higher once the market is defined at the county level. As the geographic market area shrinks, the market concentration in 2019 increased from 593 nationally to 1,300 at the state level, 1.800 at the metropolitan statistical area level and 3,700 at the county level.