Traditional wet markets (agglomerations of small vendor stalls, each specializing in one fresh food line such as vegetables or fish) remain strong in Hong Kong even though supermarkets have penetrated all market segments there. One survey found that 77 percent of Hong Kong residents shopped at supermarkets at least weekly, and only l percent never shopped there, yet supermarkets captured only 24 percent of food retail sales with 97 percent of fresh food sales occurring in wet markets. Based on experiences in North America and Western Europe, one would expect supermarkets to dominate fresh food retailing. 

A more recent survey suggests that the continued dominance of Hong Kong wet markets has to do with an emphasis on fresh ingredients and on daily shopping and cooking. Wet market retailers are regarded as specialists offering a deep selection in a narrow range of items, and all respondents stated that wet market items were "fresher and cheaper" than those purchased in supermarkets. Paradoxically, lack of storage space and lack of refrigeration facilities were interpreted by study respondents to mean that products had to be cleared daily, further enhancing respondents’ perception of their freshness. Many respondents also mentioned their ability to get the exact amounts, sizes, and parts they needed as an important advantage of wet markets; fresh items in supermarkets were mostly prepackaged, leaving consumers little choice in these aspects.


The passage suggests that which of the following is probably true of the food retail systems in North America and Western Europe?


Supermarkets have only come to dominate the food retail systems in those areas in recent years.

Supermarkets and traditional markets in those areas share the market for fresh food approximately equally.

Supermarkets in those areas have not been as successful as those in some other parts of the world.

Consumers in those areas tend to demand a wider variety of fresh foods than do consumers in Hong Kong.

Consumers in those areas make the majority of their fresh food purchases at supermarkets.

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