Workers in the food manufacturing industry link farmers and other agricultural producers with consumers. They do this by processing raw fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, and dairy products into finished goods ready for the grocer or wholesaler to sell to households, restaurants, or institutional food services.
Food manufacturing workers perform tasks as varied as the many foods we eat. For example, they slaughter, dress, and cut meat or poultry; process milk, cheese, and other dairy products; can and preserve fruits, vegetables, and frozen specialties; manufacture flour, cereal, pet foods, and other grain mill products; make bread, cookies, and other bakery products; manufacture sugar and candy and other confectionery products; process shortening, margarine, and other fats and oils; and prepare packaged seafood, coffee, potato and corn chips, and peanut butter. Although this list is long, it is not exhaustive-food manufacturing workers also play a part in delivering numerous other food products to our tables.
About 34 percent of all food manufacturing workers are employed in plants that slaughter and process animals, and another 19 percent work in establishments that make bakery goods. Seafood product preparation and manufacturing, the smallest sector of the food manufacturing industry, accounts for only about 3 percent of all jobs.