The food industry is highly diverse and comprises several important components. Each component adds distinct value to the whole food chain by improving sustainability and producing better products.
The varied activities of the food sector are classified as follows:
The food trade has existed for centuries. For instance, Asia witnessed thriving trade in tea and silk in its ancient era. In the Middle East, the spice trade began way back in 2000 BC.
In 1953, the US food industry was revolutionized by Swanson’s presentation of the first ‘TV dinner.’
Some of the milestones of the food trade industry are:
1940s Frozen foods
1960s Freeze-dried, pressure-cooked foods
1980s Microwave foods
1990s Induction foods
A number of factors heighten the demand in the global food industry such as the population levels, wealth distribution, health awareness (organic food) and types of varied lifestyles. The food supply drivers include the quality of the supply chain, level of competition in the industry and the composition of the target consumers.
The global food processing and beverage industry is dominated by a cluster of highly powerful multinational corporations. Some big names are ConAgra, Krafts Foods, Cadbury, General Mills, H.J. Heinz, Nestlé and Unilever. Top fast food franchises across the world include McDonalds, Pizza Hut, KFC and Dominoes Pizza. The US food industry generated revenue that totaled to $126 billion in 2008. Major frozen food manufacturers are ConAgra Foods and the Schwan Food Company. In 2007, the total revenue from the frozen food industry was about $100 billion.