There is no bigger industry on our planet than food and agriculture, with a consistent, loyal customer base of 7 billion, writes Ingrid Fung at TechCrunch. In fact, the World Bank estimates that food and agriculture comprise about 10% of the global GDP, meaning that, food and agriculture would be valued at about $8 trillion globally based on the projected global GDP of $88 trillion for 2019.
On the food front, a record $1.71 trillion was spent on food and beverages in 2018 at grocery stores and other retailers and away-from-home meals and snacks in the U.S. alone. During the same year, 9.7% of Americans’ disposable personal income was spent on food — 5% at home and 4.7% away from home — a percentage that has remained steady amidst economic changes over the past 20 years.
However, despite a stalwart customer base, the food industry is facing unprecedented challenges in production, demand, and regulations stemming from consumer trends. Consumer demands and focus have changed in recent years. An increasing focus by consumers on sustainability, health and freshness has placed significant pressure on the food industry to innovate.