Food is anything consumed to give nutrition support to an organism for a specific purpose. Food is always of animal, vegetable or fungi in nature, and contains certain essential nutrients, like proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, or minerals.
The food industry, which consists of the processing and production of foodstuffs, has been a vital aspect of the human life for thousands of years. The earliest foods, like grass, plants and fruits were cooked by humans and the resulting flavors were recorded in myths. Food was used in medicine, to treat injuries and illnesses, to prepare food for the dead, and for the celebration of festivals. Food became a commodity in itself and developed into a complex network of markets that made the exchange of food as easy as buying it from a store.
The use of pesticides and herbicides to keep insects and other pests away from food products has reduced the number of foodborne illnesses in the last few decades. However, this has not resulted in an increase in the quality of food, which is the case today. Instead, it has led to an increase in obesity levels in many countries. It is estimated that in many industrialized countries the food supply is decreasing due to the increase in demand. Therefore, there is a need for a better understanding of the food industry to ensure that consumers have access to food items that are healthy and safe.
There are three main branches of the food industry: commercial food manufacturing, institutional food processing, and retail food production. Commercial food manufacturing is the process used to manufacture ready-to-eat foods, including beverages, ice creams, and fast food. Commercial food processing is the process used to produce ready-to-use frozen meals and prepackaged snacks.
Another branch of the food industry plays a big role in providing the nutrition necessary for survival – feeding people in Third World countries. Most of these people depend on locally produced foods because they are not able to afford more expensive processed foods. Although most of them live in rural areas, some of them still face problems with inadequate nutrition.
Although there are many sources of food available on the market today, there is also a lack of knowledge in distributing this food to rural communities in the world. It takes a lot of work, money, and effort to maintain a sustainable food system. Food safety is therefore a very important issue and can be solved through cooperation between governments and various organizations.