The food industry is a complex system that encompasses a wide range of activities, from crop and livestock farming to food processing, packaging, labeling, warehousing, distribution, regulatory frameworks, financing, marketing, retail, catering, research and development, and education. It involves all companies involved in the transformation of raw agricultural products into consumer food products. Industries in the food manufacturing subsector take livestock and agricultural products and turn them into products for intermediate or final consumption. From simple ovens and conveyors to complex bottling and packaging machines, the food and beverage industry relies on equipment for industrial-scale food production.
Food products manufactured in these establishments are usually sold to wholesalers or retailers for distribution to consumers. This includes establishments primarily engaged in the retail sale of bakery products and confectionery made on site not for immediate consumption. Food production is about transforming raw materials into food products prepared for human use, whether in the home or in the food processing industries. Research areas such as food classification, food preservation, food rheology and food storage are directly related to quality and quality maintenance that overlaps many of the above processes.
A kitchen is a place where food is cooked and has all the equipment needed to cook. The term “food industries” encompasses a series of industrial activities aimed at the production, distribution, processing, conversion, preparation, preservation, transportation, certification and packaging of food. Organizations such as the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) have been criticized for accepting monetary donations from companies in the food industry such as Coca-Cola. The equipment used must be clean and meet regulatory requirements just like the food production equipment itself.
These minimally processed foods retain their original properties - nutritional, physical, sensory and chemical - as their unprocessed form and are ready for further processing by the food industry (secondary processing). Food processing takes clean harvested or slaughtered components and uses them to produce marketable food products. Since World War II, agriculture in the United States and the entire national food system has been characterized by models that prioritize monetary profitability over social and environmental integrity. The term “food production” is sometimes used in a broader sense to group together most of the activities involved in the food industry such as agriculture, processing and distribution.
Biotechnology is driving many changes in areas such as agrochemicals, plant breeding and food processing. The final activity in the food system relates to food consumption and waste disposal which is unfortunately beyond the scope of this course.