Food processing

Food processing is the conversion of raw bulk ingredients (agricultural products) into food for human consumption or transforming one form of food into another.


What comes to mind when you think of processed foods? You’re right if you think of items such as snack chips, cookies, and soft drinks.

But you might be surprised to learn that most foods we eat are processed.
Processing food definition = Food processing is any deliberate change in a food that occurs before it’s available for human consumption.

It can be as simple as drying or freezing food to preserve nutrients and freshness or as complex as formulating a frozen meal with the right ingredients and nutrients.

A few examples of processed foods include:

  • Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables,
  • Packaged foods labeled “natural” or “organic,” such as cereals, fresh meat, and poultry, and jarred baby foods,
  • Foods with health and nutrition claims on the label, such as “may reduce the risk of heart disease,” “low in fat,” or “high in calcium,”
  • Foods strengthened with nutrients such as fiber, vitamin D, or omega-3 fatty acids,
  • Foods that are prepared in restaurants, cafeterias, sports arenas, and other locations.

Primary food processing

Primary processing is the conversion of raw materials to food commodities. Milling is an example of primary processing.

Secondary food processing

Secondary processing is the conversion of ingredients into edible products – this involves combining foods in a particular way to change properties. Baking bread is an example of secondary processing.

Tertiary food processing

Tertiary food processing produces prepared convenience foods like canned soups or frozen dinners.


Food processing companies manufacture, package, or store food for human consumption.

A food-producing company sells its products to households, restaurants, or institutional food services through a grocer or wholesaler. Food processing companies are responsible for ensuring their products are safe for consumption.

Companies active in industrial food processing mainly process dairy products, preserved fruits and vegetables, grain mill productspet foods, bakery products, confectionery products, fats and oils, and more.

The food manufacturing process can be organized in unit operations, such as:

These operations are controlled to maintain consistent product quality, safeguard staff health, and food safety standards, and avoid problems that may stop the production line from running, which would result in ‘downtime.’


In an economy with rising production costs, new regulations, and changing safety standards, food processors have an even more challenging time remaining profitable.

By focusing on controlling and monitoring costs related to food processing and storage, food manufacturing and processing companies can make measurable improvements in their business.

Food processing software provides the functionality and value needed to improve operational efficiency.

Food processing software offers the following benefits:

  • Traceability
  • Reduced materials consumption, and therefore less waste
  • Improved decision-making
  • Measurement of key performance indicators
  • Greater visibility of operational performance
  • Consistently deliver reliable food products
  • Keep up with the latest food safety standards

The response drives the food manufacturing industry to both customer and consumer trends and needs.

The food processing industry is a large segment of the overall food industry, from farming and food production, packaging and distribution to retail and catering.

Finding a source covering all aspects of processing bulk dry foods and food manufacturing is challenging.

Product supervisors and plant and project engineers must keep up-to-date with the latest food processing news.

Access to news on breakthrough technologies in food processing, food processing innovations, and general food industry news and events is crucial for any food industry professional.

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Experts for Food processing

Matthew Bailey – Technical Lead

Matthew is a mechanical engineer holding an honours degree from the Auckland University of Technology and has been responsible for BFM® Global’s product development, testing and compliance programme for almost 5 years. Matt’s experience is centered on the powder handling industry with a specific focus on flexible connectors, and all the compliance requirements around them. From food to pharmaceutical and all industries in between, Matt works with our Distributor partners, end users and OEMs from Europe, Asia and the Americas to solve application challenges. He regularly attends industry tradeshows around the world and understands the complex requirements of each different market.
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Julio Contreras is the Vice President of Sales at Sweet Manufacturing Company. With more than 21 years of expertise in the feed mill and industrial applications for material handling equipment. He also has an engineering background that allows him to dive deeper into projects and provide the best solution for their needs from an engineering perspective. Julio has contributed to Sweet through innovative product lines and, most importantly, the continuation of the company’s legacy. From small farm installations to some of the most significant installations globally, he has experience working with a variety of customers to deliver solutions for their applications.
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Chris has been working at Spiroflow for over 10 years and is currently in the role of technical sales manager. He handles all the technical drawings and specifications during the sale and aides our drawing office while the equipment is designed, he also assists the manufacturing department with the build. His vast knowledge of powder handling and mechanical design is why he is involved in every aspect of designing our powder handling solutions.
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Travis has over 20 years of experience in the dry bulk solids industry and is the President at Vortex, an engineering and manufacturing company that specialises in process valves and loading solutions specifically for solids handling. Travis has worked on solution-driven installations across six continents and has a strong knowledge of market-specific regulations and requirements within the industry.
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