7 global trends impacting food processing

The food processing industry is a mature sector which is experiencing a turbulent period due to the growing global demands for food safety, increasing food insecurity and consumer demand for higher quality and sustainability.

There is a significant economic impact of getting food safety wrong if modern food supply chains are incorrectly assessed and risk mitigation is absent. Even a small impact on a supply chain can have a large economic impact.

The processed food industries are valued at over $2 trillion dollars globally and consist of over 400,000 businesses.

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Food processing is also significantly impacted by multiple external factors, including economic trends, climate change, demographic shifts, emerging power markets, new trade partnerships and world population growth predictions.

Today’s food supply chain is more globalised, longer and far more complex than ever before. With growing imports and exports, processed foods are dependent on longer supply chains which poses a great challenge to assuring food safety.

The below content dives into the detail of the major trends affecting the food processing sector and their implications for the evolution of the industry.

7 regional and socioeconomic trends in food processing

In many countries, the food processing industry is a major contributor to the health of the national economy. In the same way too, the sector is impacted by both the local economy where it manufactures as well as by the global economy in terms of food logistics and imports and exports.

Shifts and changes in regional economies, population size, food consumption, and the food and drinks industry in general all have significant implications for food processing.

1. Leading food industry regions

According to the European Food and Drink Industry there are three leading production regions worldwide:

  • EU — 44% of turnover
  • USA — 20% of turnover
  • China — 19% of turnover

The turnover of the EU food & drink processing industry alone is double that of the USA and China. However, this will change significantly in the next few decades.

2. Growing demand for food

In order to feed the growing world population, predicted to reach 9.3 billion by 2050, agricultural production needs to grow by 70% and by nearly 100% in fast growing economies.

3. Demographic shifts

By 2030, India will have the largest population in the world, representing 1/3 of the Asian population and 17% of world population.

In fact, by 2050, India, China, Indonesia, Philippines and Pakistan will represent more than 50% of the world’s population.

4. Consumption & urbanisation

By 2050, two thirds of the world population will be living in cities, increasing demand for processed foods and meat protein — in Asia protein consumption will have grown by 128%.

5. Economic power shifts

By 2030, E7 countries (China, India, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Indonesia, Turkey) will overtake the G7 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, US) in size and purchasing power.

The growth in demand and high growth of both exports and imports in key emerging markets is making food safety and hygiene in this sector a priority.

6. Global shift in demand

The emerging markets (India, Indonesia, China, Malaysia) will increasingly drive global growth. The share of both exports and imports for food and drink products in these markets is growing rapidly. Manufacturing & processing will increasingly shift to these markets, to be close to a growing customer base.

7. Prosperity

65% of the world’s middle class will be living in the Asia Pacific region by 2030. The increasing disposable income in emerging economies will drive demand for manufactured food products.

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Jack Lyons

I joined the Marketing and Innovation team at Rentokil in 2015, and my mind has quickly become accustomed to the weird and wonderful world of pests. Outside of work my main hobby is music, being a huge fan of bands such as Queen and Led Zeppelin as well as being an avid drummer.

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