There is a lot more to the food and beverage industry than the familiar food brands and products that appear on grocery store shelves. Companies that manufacture food and beverages are a big part of this sector, but they are just one part of a massive industry.
Machinery and production, packaging, marketing, distribution, and other segments also play a role in the steps that take an edible product and get it into a consumer’s hands.
Although there are many facets to each, the food industry can be divided into two major categories. The first is food production and the second is food distribution. On the food production end, there is the sourcing, transport, and development of whole ingredients—including those that are natural and artificial. Then there is the manufacture and processing that creates the edible food and the packaging and preparation required for sale.
This involves a myriad of systems, equipment, and resources. For example, a relatively small beverage factory, producing just one or a small variety of bottled juices, will need to utilize a wide range of ingredient sources, machinery, technology, and management techniques to deliver their product to the marketplace. When examining some of the most popular food brands and drink companies, the breadth and complexity of production only increase.
In the distribution end of the food industry, there is the process of taking a completed, packaged product and making it available at retail outlets, like grocery and convenience stores, as well as private and corporate restaurants. Distribution is more than just shipping and transporting; it also involves the business of bringing a food brand to specific marketplaces and collaborating with providers to determine how and where a product will be available.
What Are The World’s Biggest Food And Drink Companies?
The largest food companies in the world include Nestle, PepsiCo, Anheuser-Busch, JBS, Tyson Foods, Mars, Coca-Cola, Archer Daniels Midland Company, Cargill, and Danone. Some of these companies are easily recognizable for the food and beverage products that carry their name. For example, Nestle is a household name for Nestle Crunch bars and other chocolate products, while Coca-Cola is a huge international brand known for the success of Coke and Diet Coke.
However, these food and beverage industry giants have many products and brands under their corporate umbrella. Nestle alone owns over 2000 food and beverage brands, including coffee and bottled water, cereal, pet food, yogurt, spices and seasonings, baby food, and nutritional supplements. PepsiCo owns dozens of trademarks—each with its own extensive selection of products, including Frito-Lay, Quaker Oats, and Tropicana.
This means that the thousands upon thousands of different options in a supermarket are sometimes only representative of just hundreds or even as few as dozens of corporate food and beverage producers. PepsiCo also partners with major food and beverage retailers like Starbucks and the fast-food corporation Yum! Brands, which owns Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC, and other restaurants.
Some food and beverage industry giants may not be easily recognizable from their names alone, but they are still among the most profitable food manufacturers in the world. Archer Daniels Midland Company, for example, is not a highly visible brand on grocery store shelves, but the company’s delivery of food ingredients, including corn germ, wheat flour, and syrup, has made them a leading provider of food products as well as animal feed.
Disruptions And Trends In The Food And Beverage Industry
For much of the 21st century, the biggest changes to the food and beverage industry have been shifts in consumer demand. Nutrition, health, environmental sustainability, and quality have ranked high among customer concerns. The powerful effect of purchasing trends has subsequently pushed major brands to reexamine and adjust their products—not only in how they’re made, but how they’re packaged, sold, and marketed.
Apart from these consistent consumer concerns, more recent supply chain disruptions, changes in the labor market and employment practices, and an emphasis on corporate accountability and reputation have led to waves throughout the industry. Advancing technology and increased automation have also amounted to rapid changes, as well as some growing pains, that have affected food producers of all sizes.