Food which is altered using freezing, baking, and drying is called processed food. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines processed food as any raw agricultural products that has been subjected to cleaning, washing, milling, chopping, cutting, heating, blanching, pasteurizing, cooking, freezing, canning, drying, mixing, packaging, dehydrating or other procedures that modify the food from its natural state. Such process may include the additional ingredients such as flavors, nutrients, preservatives. These products are having a demand in the global market due to its advantages such as easy cooking or immediate consumption, easy handling, preservation, and storage. Changing lifestyle, safety, and convenience are the major driving factors for the global processed food market. Excellent marketing strategies for such products also play an important role. Innovative packaging is used by processed food industry which in turn increases the demand for the global packaging industry.

The major challenge for the global processed food industry is the health awareness, food contamination, and government regulations. The health problems associated with preservatives and other additives is a major concern. However, the major players are coming up with innovative ideas such as fortification of various nutrients in the processed food to overcome this problem. 

Global Processed Food -Market Taxonomy

The global processed food market is segmented on the basis of process, products, and application.

Based on process, global processed food market is segmented into:

  • Minimally
  • Highly

Based on product type, global processed food market is segmented into:

  • Plant based
    • Fruits  
    • Vegetables
    • Legumes 
    • Extracted foods
    • Others
  • Animal based
    • Milk 
    • Poultry
    • Fleshy
    • Others

Based on application, global processed food market is segmented into:

  • Baked foods
  • Baby food
  • Breakfast Cereal
  • Biscuits
  • Cheese
  • Chocolate confectionary
  • Ice creams
  • Instant Noodles
  • Non-alcoholic drinks
  • Nuts
  • Pasta
  • Ready meals
  • Sauces, Dressings and condiments
  • Soups
  • Yogurt
  • Others

Baked goods, baby foods, breakfast cereals, chips, nuts, sweet snacks, candy, pet food, ready to eat meals, cheese yoghurt, salad dressing, instant products are few examples of processed food which are gaining popularity in the market.

Global Processed Food Market Outlook

  • North America is the largest market for processed food due to increased snacking trend. Furthermore, busy lifestyle, packaging innovation and expanded lifestyle plays a major role in increasing demand of processed food.
  • Europe has high demand for high quality and nutritious food. The strict government regulations is the major challenge in this market. The basic food hygiene and food law requirements are in Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 and in Regulation (EC) No 825/2004 which plays a dominant role in European processed food industry.
  • Processed food market is fast growing in Asia pacific region due to increase in population and increase in consumer buying power. The consumer spending in India on processed food is expected to grow to US$ 3.6 trillion by 2020. Cost competitiveness along with availability of raw materials are the growth drivers for the processed food industry in India and China.
  • In Latin America, urbanization and modernization is creating a demand for processed food. However, regulations such as, special 8% tax on high calorie food in Mexico from January 2014 will have a considerable effect on the processed food market. Also, it will increase the demand for nutritious processed food in these regions.  
  • In Middle East, the limited agricultural production because of the nature of climate, terrain and water scarcity has led to a significant increase in the processed food market.
  • United Nations estimated that the population of Africa will be doubled by 2020 which will be a market driver in this region. Low market penetration is the major restraint in Africa.

Key Developments

The companies are adopting various organic and inorganic growth strategies to sustain their market positions such as partnership and mergers.

For instance, in March 2015, Krafts foods Group merged with H.J. Heinz and formed a new entity H.J. Heinz-Kraft Foods company, to expand their business.

In June 2017, Nestle acquired minority stake in Freshly, a leading producer of direct-to-consumer (DTC) freshly prepared meals, to expand distribution network in a rapidly changing U.S. market.

In August 2018, Tyson Foods, Inc. acquired Keystone Foods, a supplier of chicken, beef, fish and pork to restaurants as well as retail and convenience stores. The acquisition includes six processing plants and an innovation center in the U.S. It also includes eight plants and three innovation centers in China, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand and Australia.

In April 2018, The Kraft Heinz Company partnered with Food Network Kitchen to supply salad dressings, cooking sauces and meal kits in global market.

For instance, in June 2017, Smithfield Foods acquired Pini Group's packaged meats companies in Poland. These companies will be operated by Animex Foods, one of the largest food producers in Poland and part of Smithfield Poland, which is owned by Smithfield Foods. This acquisition helped Smithfield Foods to expand its business in Poland market.   

Key players in the global processed food market

Also, Tyson food collaborated with Godrej India in 2008. Some of the important players in the global food industry market are  Nestlé, General Mills, Kraft Food, Inc., ConAgra foods, Inc., Tyson Foods, Kellogg’s, Frito-Lay, JBS Food, Smithfield Food, Inc. and Mars, Inc.

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