Companies in this industry manufacture and process a wide variety of foods, including meat, seafood, dairy products, fruits and vegetables, milled grains and oilseeds, baked goods, and candy. Major companies include US-based Archer-Daniels-Midland, Conagra Brands, Frito-Lay, General Mills, Kellogg, Kraft Heinz, Mondelez International, and Tyson Foods; along with COFCO (China), Danone (France), Fonterra (New Zealand), Grupo Bimbo (Mexico), JBS (Brazil), Maruha Nichiro (Japan), Nestlé (Switzerland), and Unilever (The Netherlands).
Demand is driven by food consumption, which depends on population growth. The profitability of individual companies depends on efficient operations, because products are commodities subject to intense price competition. Companies compete largely based on cost and their ability to distribute the finished product. Large companies have economies of scale in purchasing and distribution. Small companies can compete effectively in local or regional markets and by developing popular products. The industry is concentrated: the 50 largest companies account for about 50% of industry revenue.
Products, Operations & Technology
Major products include processed meats (about 30% of industry revenue), dairy products (15%), and grains and edible oils (10%). Other sources of revenue include processed fruits and vegetables, baked goods, pet food, and snack foods.