China is now the world’s largest grocery market, worth more than £600bn a year.

The Asian powerhouse overtook the US, worth £572bn, this year – and the gap will widen dramatically over the next few years.

The IGD expects the Chinese grocery market to be worth £918bn by 2015, well ahead of sales of £675bn predicted in the US.

“Between 2006 and 2015, the Chinese grocery market is forecast to triple in value and to be worth nearly a trillion pounds,” said Joanne Denney-Finch, IGD chief executive.

“Despite its various logistical and bureaucratic challenges, China is a crucial growth market for many of the world’s largest grocery retailers. Given its size and diversity, it’s essential not to treat the country as one homogenous market. “

By 2015, the UK could overtake Germany as the eighth-largest market, the IGD said, worth an estimated £162bn. Currently the UK grocery market is worth £143bn.

“In the UK, we expect the online sector to perform well, with internet sales boosted by the increasing use of smartphones and tablet computers,” Denney-Finch added. “Convenience stores, with their increased focus on fresh food and tailoring the store depending on local demand, are also expected to be a key performer.”