Food and beverage manufacturing plants transform raw agricultural materials into products for intermediate or final consumption by applying labor, machinery, energy, and scientific knowledge. Some products may serve as inputs for further processing (such as syrup for manufacturing soda). As firms and manufacturing plants strive to compete in a slowly growing domestic food industry, ERS monitors and presents key developments and trends across the U.S. food marketing system.
- the food processing and distribution sector, including the ability of the sector to meet changing consumer demands;
- the size and location of processing plants, ownership, and employees;
- how competition is reshaping the food chain as food firms seek new marketing opportunities, streamline operations and marketing channels, and respond to consumer preferences; and
- the effect of government interventions to facilitate response to consumer preferences.