Food

Indulging in food is an indispensable aspect of our daily lives. The food industry plays a prominent role in every nation and is a major source of income. In fact, when it comes to the US economy, it is one of the seventeen critical sectors of the nation. The health of the citizens, nutrition consumption, food safety and security and social development are some of the major fields where the Food industry is a key player.

The quality of the edibles, the health and hygiene regarding the cooks and environment in which the food is prepared are some of the concerns in the food industry. The food industry is a vast sector and covers activities that range from production to consumption. They also include harvesting, processing, efficient packaging, transportation, distribution and even environment-friendly disposal. The food industry started evolving in the early 1900s.

Some of the money-spinning zones of the food industry include meat processing, vegetable and fruit processing, confectionery, dairy, sausages, wine, and bakery.  Krafts Foods, Cadbury, Heinz, Nestlé, Food World, DuPont, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, and KFC are a few multinational corporations which are the forerunners in the food industry.

Components Of Food Industry

Food industry comprises of several other industries that produce an assorted range of food items. These areas are farming, food production, food processing, preservation, packaging, distribution, retail, and catering.  These are some of the major components of the Food Industry:

Agriculture    

  • This is the art of growing crops, feed, fibre and other desired products.

  • They include farming crops, raising livestock, and breeding fish.

  • It also deals with the manufacture of agricultural machinery, fertilizers, pesticides and hybrid seeds to enhance the food produce.

Food Processing

  • Food often contains raw ingredients that deteriorate if not processed properly.

  • Agricultural products are usually seasonal and perishable. 

  • Marketable food products are processed in advance so that they are available all year round. Adequate packaging protects food from adverse environmental conditions, extends food shelf life, and preserves the grade of food.

Food Distribution  

  • Distribution involves storage, transportation and marketing food products to consumers. 

  • A robust transportation network is a necessity to connect to the numerous parts in the supply chain. Wholesale vendors purchase food supplies from the local vendors and then distribute it to clients and other customers who deal with the retail market.

Regulation

  • Government authorities have imposed regulations on food production and distribution so that food safety and quality is uncompromised. Any food business must adhere to the regulations for their operation to continue smoothly. 

  • FDA is responsible for administering food laws and regulations.

Financial Services

  • Food production and distribution require adequate credit and insurance to move forward.

  • Insurance policies aid in dealing with common business tragedies that are found across the industry. Food accounting professionals come up with creative ideas to exploit business opportunities in various sectors of the food industry.

Research & Development  

  • The customers’ needs, buying choices, demands, perceptions and geographical factors are studied to attain higher profits.

  • Thorough research on any aspect of the food industry helps us in gaining insights into that sector. It has a large scope when it comes to research and development. The industry must analyse consumer behaviour to put forth better products. 

Marketing
The best way to reach out to your customers is through marketing. Food marketing involves advertising that promotes the purchase or consumption of any kind of food or beverage. The target audience is presented with advertisements that resonate with them, thus influencing in their food preferences.

Food Industry Technologies

The modern food industry is technically superior when compared with that of the previous millennium. Agricultural machinery (such as tractor) has almost eradicated human labour in multiple stages of production. Specialised robots have ensured minimum human intervention in fields like food processing, food handling, food packaging, and food serving. This has led to better productivity and thus profit. Blockchain can be deployed to identify delays and minimize wastage in the food production supply chain. Infrareds and microwaves are converted to heat which aids in different kinds of preparation of food. Evaporators are utilized to remove the water content from food.

Metabolic engineering has increased carotenoid production in yeast cells since they are an excellent source of antioxidants and nutrients.

Another promising area in food technology is leveraging the power of ultrasound for food processing, minimized energy consumption and enhanced food preservation. Nanotechnology has revolutionized the food supply and is widely used in agriculture, food processing, food packaging and manufacturing supplements. Ozone helps in purifying water by disinfecting them from bacteria and viruses.

An enzyme is an active catalyst used in chemical reactions which are produced as a result of microbial fermentation and are used in food processing and the food industry. Technology has played a major role in shaping the food industry as we see it today. Operational problems can now be solved using computer algorithms that help in simulation.

With the aid of simulation, staff deployment and customer service can be optimized in the restaurant. Delivery chains can be efficient by maximizing the number of deliveries in the least possible amount of time. The food industry has already entered the e-commerce game and there has been no stopping it ever since its inception. Taking the popularity of online shopping into account, food chains have come up with amazing offers and other marketing strategies to lure in customers.

Challenges

Food industry being one of the major industries in the world has been facing a few obstacles over time. It has been trying its best to overcome the shortcomings pointed out by the critics.

The need of the hour for any country is a sustainable food system that keeps climate change, pollution, manure disposal, soil and water damage, deforestation, environmental degradation, and exploitation of natural resources at check.

The food industry should adopt green policies to rehabilitate our ailing planet. It has to deal with the legislation that has added regulation when it comes to environmental issues.

Adhering to regulatory standards is still a concern for the food manufacturers. Aggressive application of fertilizers, pesticides, and food additives takes a toll on the environment and health of all the organisms present.

It is also a cumbersome process to introduce novel products into the market

Keeping with the market poses major challenges since the consumer tastes are fickle and picky. The first step in innovating new products begins with understanding the demands of the market. The pipeline involves adequate R&D, quality checks, alluring marketing strategies and then finally hitting it off at the retail market. Another significant challenge would be the industry’s transparency towards consumers. 

Consumers are conscious about what they ingest. They pay attention to the ingredients that go into their servings by reading the package contents of the food items. They are aware of the benefits provided by healthier eating habits. This holds the food companies accountable for their actions.

The enterprises that come under the Food industry are highly competitive in nature. They should engage in development keeping the global nature of business in mind. Automation solutions have helped the food industry in gearing up for the challenges faced due to operational cost. The food industry has embraced the agile mode of operation. 

The food industry has a tight grip on economic and political power.  The consumers, health professionals, and even the critics are appeased by the inventive ways of the Food industry. It has embarked on a journey to produce high-grade products that do not compromise the health of the consumers.

Conclusion

The food industry plays a significant role in satiating the hunger and cravings of the common man. The availability, distribution and quality of food in the community is taken into account by the Food industry. It is one of the most volatile economic sectors in the world due to its rapid evolution. Technology has greatly simplified many of the challenges earlier faced by the food industry.