Unless you grow all of your own vegetables and raise your own meat, most foods served at home and on restaurant tables have gone through additional processing steps. Food manufacturing plants process foods for convenience and safety.
The main purpose of food manufacturing is to extend the shelf life of perishable goods. Food manufacturing plants also kill bacteria that is present in raw, unprocessed foods.
Food manufacturing plants freeze, can, refrigerate and dehydrate fresh foods. Additives to preserve are usually added during these processes. The plants also create ready-to-eat and pre-packaged meals.
Food manufacturing plants add convenience and extend the life of food products. Processed foods, such as canned or frozen vegetables, will last for months or years as compared to the short shelf life or fresh products. Convenience foods, such as frozen dinners and cake mixes, save preparation time.
Although processed foods are convenient, some contain excess salt, sugar or fat added during the manufacturing process.
Food manufacturing plants take on many forms, including meat processing plants where meat or poultry is butchered and packaged, bakeries that produce ready-to-eat breads and breweries that create beer.