Processed Food Statistics 2024 By Alterations, Preparations, Extensions

Trishita Deb
Trishita Deb

Updated · Apr 12, 2024

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Introduction

Processed Food Statistics: Processed foods encompass a wide range of products with various alterations made during preparation, including flavor enhancement, shelf life extension, and convenience improvement.

They fall into three categories: minimally processed (e.g., pre-cut veggies), moderately processed (e.g., canned vegetables), and highly processed (e.g., fast food).

Highly processed foods often contain unhealthy elements like salt, sugar, and additives. Conversely, minimally and moderately processed foods can be part of a balanced diet when chosen wisely.

It’s essential to read labels, prioritize unprocessed foods, and consume highly processed ones in moderation for a healthy diet.

Processed Food Statistics

Editor’s Choice

  • In 2022, the Global Frozen Food Market was valued at USD 269.1 billion. Between 2023 and 2032, this market is estimated to register the highest CAGR of 5.1%.
  • In 2022, the market size of processed foods was USD 1,991.3 billion.
  • In 2027, the market size of processed foods reached USD 2,557.9 billion, indicating significant expansion over the years.
  • Nauru has the highest obesity rate at 61.0%.
  • Ultra-processed breads make up the largest portion of ultra-processed food consumption in the diet, accounting for 21% of the total energy intake.
  • Approximately 70 percent of the American diet consists of processed foods.
  • In 2015, 46% of total daily energy consumed by Canadians came from ultra-processed foods.
  • In 2020, the export value of processed vegetables from India was 354 million USD.
  • In 2020, the export value of processed fruits, juices, and nuts was 402 million USD.
Frozen Food Market

 Processed Food Market Size Statistics

  • The growth is primarily attributed to a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.3% in market value from 2022 to 2027.
  • In 2022, the market size of processed foods was USD 1,991.3 billion.
  • The following year, in 2023, it increased to USD 2,094.3 billion, showing growth in the market.
  • By 2024, the market continued to expand, reaching USD 2,204.5 billion.
  • In 2025, the market grew to USD 2,321.2 billion, reflecting a sustained upward trend.
  • The growth trend continued into 2026, with the market size reaching USD 2,444.8 billion.
  • Finally, in 2027, the market size of processed foods reached USD 2,557.9 billion, indicating significant expansion over the years.

Contribution (% of energy) of each food group to the consumption of ultra-processed food in the diet statistics

  • Ultra-processed breads make up the largest portion of ultra-processed food consumption in the diet, accounting for 21% of the total energy intake.
  • Snacks and desserts contribute significantly to consuming ultra-processed foods, representing 33% of the energy consumed.
  • Frozen and shelf-stable ready-to-eat/heat meals are responsible for 16% of the energy derived from ultra-processed foods in the diet.
  • Beverages, including sugary drinks and sodas, comprise 15% of the total energy intake from ultra-processed food.
  • Breakfast Cereals contribute 6% of the energy consumed from ultra-processed sources.
  • Spreads, sauces, and other ultra-processed food items collectively account for 9% of the total energy intake from this category of foods.
Processed Food Statistics

Global Obesity Levels by Processed Food Statistics

  • Nauru has the highest obesity rate at 61.0%.
  • The Cook Islands follow closely with an obesity rate of 55.9%.
  • Palau ranks third with an obesity rate of 55.3%.
  • The Marshall Islands have an obesity rate of 52.9%, making them the fourth on the list.
  • Tuvalu’s obesity rate is 51.6%, placing it fifth on the list.
  • Niue has an obesity rate of 50.0%.
  • Tonga follows with an obesity rate of 48.2%.
  • Samoa is in eighth place with an obesity rate of 47.3%.
  • Kiribati has an obesity rate of 46.0%.
  • The Micronesia (Federated States of) ranks tenth with an obesity rate of 45.8%.
  • Kuwait has an obesity rate of 37.9%.
  • The United States of America is twelfth on the list with an obesity rate of 36.2%.
  • Jordan follows with an obesity rate of 35.5%.
  • Saudi Arabia has an obesity rate of 35.4%.
  • Qatar is fifteenth on the list with an obesity rate of 35.1%.
  • Libya has an obesity rate of 32.5%.
  • Turkey follows with an obesity rate of 32.1%.
  • Egypt has an obesity rate of 32.0%.
  • Lebanon’s obesity rate is 33.7%.
  • The United Arab Emirates ranks twentieth with an obesity rate of 31.7%.
  • The Bahamas has an obesity rate of 31.6%.
  • New Zealand is twenty-second on the list with an obesity rate of 30.8%.
  • Iraq has an obesity rate of 30.4%.
  • Fiji has an obesity rate of 30.2%.
  • Bahrain rounds out the list with an obesity rate of 29.8%.

(Source: WHO)

Processed Food Statistics According to Region

United States

  • Approximately 70 percent of the American diet consists of processed foods.
  • Americans allocate about 10 percent of their disposable income towards fast food consumption.
  • 1 out of every 4 Americans consumes fast food daily.
  • More than a third of adults in the United States are not just overweight but are considered obese, resulting in an estimated annual medical cost of $147 billion.
  • Among American children aged 2-19, 17 percent fall under the category of obesity.
  • In the early 2000s, soft drinks were available in vending machines at 60 percent of all middle and high schools across the United States.

(Source: Standard Process)

Canada

  • In 2015, 46% of total daily energy consumed by Canadians came from ultra-processed foods.
  • Ultra-processed foods accounted for 48% of total energy intake.
  • The decrease in Canadians’ intake of ultra-processed foods since 2004 was mainly due to reduced consumption of soft drinks, fruit juices, and fruit drinks.
  • However, children aged five and older, as well as adolescents, still consumed over 50% of their total energy from ultra-processed foods in both years.
  • Older adults aged 54 and above were the only age group that consumed more energy from ultra-processed foods in 2015 compared to 2004.

(Statistics: Canada Statistics)

India

Processed Vegetables:

  • In 2020, the export value of processed vegetables from India was 354 million USD.
  • This figure declined to 312 million USD in 2021 but showed a notable increase to 390.99 million USD in 2022.

Miscellaneous Preparations:

  • India exported miscellaneous preparations worth 583 million USD in 2020.
  • The export value increased to 660 million USD in 2021 but decreased slightly to 554.37 million USD in 2022.

Processed Fruits, Juices, and Nuts:

  • In 2020, the export value of processed fruits, juices, and nuts was 402 million USD.
  • This category experienced substantial growth, reaching 647 million USD in 2021 and a remarkable increase to 780.19 million USD in 2022.
Processed Food Statistics

China

  • In 2020, processed food and beverage imports in China amounted to approximately 126.1 billion Canadian dollars.
  • This increased from the previous year when imports were valued at around 107.3 billion Canadian dollars.
  • In 2020 over 50% of adults in China were classified as overweight or obese.

(Source: Statista, Chronic Diseases and Nutrition study)

Australia

  • Among Australian adults, ultra-processed foods accounted for 38.9% of their total energy intake.
  • Consumption of these foods varied widely, with the lowest quintile consuming only 12.7% (ranging from 0% to 21.7%).
  • In contrast, the highest quintile of ultra-processed food consumption constituted a significant 74.2% of their total energy intake, ranging between 62.1% and 100%.
  • The total value of processed food and beverage exports, primarily for household consumption, from Australia amounted to around 23 billion Australian dollars in 2020.
  • From 2015 to 2020, the highest recorded value for these exports occurred in 2019, reaching approximately 26 billion Australian dollars.

(Source: NIH, Statista)

Recent Developments

Acquisitions and Mergers:

  • Acquisition of a major processed food company by a global conglomerate in September 2023, expanding its presence in the packaged food market.
  • The merger between two leading snack food manufacturers in December 2023, created synergies in product innovation and distribution channels.

New Product Launches:

  • Introduction of plant-based meat alternatives by processed food companies in January 2024, catering to the growing demand for vegetarian and vegan options.
  • Launch of functional food products fortified with vitamins, minerals, and probiotics by packaged food brands in March 2024, offering added health benefits to consumers.

Funding Rounds:

  • Series C funding round for a processed food startup specializing in healthy convenience meals in February 2024, raising $50 million to expand production capacity and distribution networks.
  • Seed funding for a food technology company developing sustainable packaging solutions for processed foods in April 2024, securing $10 million for research and development efforts.

Partnerships and Collaborations:

  • Collaboration between a processed food manufacturer and a dietary supplement company in November 2023 to develop fortified food products targeting specific nutritional needs, such as immune support and digestive health.
  • The partnership between a packaged food brand and a celebrity chef in March 2024 to co-create gourmet frozen meals, leveraging the chef’s culinary expertise to elevate the brand’s product offerings.

Health and Wellness Focus:

  • Processed food manufacturers are responding to consumer preferences for healthier options by reformulating products to reduce sugar, salt, and artificial additives.
  • Introduction of organic and natural ingredient labels on processed food packaging to appeal to health-conscious consumers seeking clean-label products.

Investment Landscape:

  • Venture capital investments in processed food startups totaled $3.2 billion in 2023, with a focus on companies offering innovative and healthier alternatives to traditional processed foods.
  • Strategic acquisitions and partnerships between food conglomerates, technology companies, and startups accounted for 60% of total investment activity in the processed food market in 2023, reflecting industry efforts to adapt to changing consumer preferences and market dynamics.

Conclusion

Processed Food Statistics: Processed foods encompass a wide spectrum, from minimally processed options like frozen vegetables to highly ultra-processed products laden with added sugars, salt, unhealthy fats, and additives. While not all processed foods are inherently unhealthy, it’s crucial to be discerning.

Prioritizing whole, fresh foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and dairy is advisable, as they offer essential nutrients without the additives found in many processed items.

Moderation and informed choices are key, and while it’s not necessary to eliminate processed foods, a balanced diet that minimizes the consumption of ultra-processed items is prudent for better health and well-being, emphasizing the importance of reading food labels and making conscious dietary decisions.

FAQs

What are processed foods?

Processed foods have been altered from their natural state through various methods, such as cooking, drying, canning, or adding preservatives and additives.

Are all processed foods unhealthy?

No, not all processed foods are unhealthy. Some minimally processed foods, like frozen vegetables or canned beans, can be nutritious. However, ultra-processed foods with high added sugars, unhealthy fats, and additives are generally less healthy.

Why are ultra-processed foods considered less healthy?

Ultra-processed foods often contain high-added sugars, salt, unhealthy fats, and additives. They are also associated with health issues like obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes when consumed in excess.

How can I identify ultra-processed foods?

Check the ingredient list. Ultra-processed foods often have long lists of ingredients with chemical-sounding names. They may also contain high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, and artificial flavorings.

Are there any benefits to consuming processed foods?

Processed foods can be convenient and have a longer shelf life, which can be practical for busy individuals. Some processed foods, like fortified cereals, provide added nutrients.

Should I avoid all processed foods?

It’s not necessary to avoid all processed foods. Focus on choosing minimally processed or moderately processed options and limit the consumption of ultra-processed foods.

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Trishita Deb

Trishita Deb

Trishita has more than 7 years of experience in market research and consulting industry. She has worked in various domains including healthcare, consumer goods, and materials. Her expertise lies majorly in healthcare and has worked on more than 400 healthcare reports throughout her career.