CHICAGO — Nearly all countries experienced modest growth in food service consumer spending and traffic in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to The NPD Group.

China led the growth with a 15% gain in food service visits and a 22% increase in consumer spending when compared with the same quarter of the previous year. Canada had a 3% increase in visits. The United States had a 2% increase in spending and a 1% increase in traffic.

“The broad-based increases in traffic counts represents a continuation of the trends we’ve seen over the past quarters,” said Bob O’Brien, senior vice-president of global food service. “More food service visits on top of check boosts are driving the growth in consumer spending, which gives us some hope that global recovery is under way.”