The processed food industry is constituted by the sub sectors of grain and seed milling; oil and fat sourcing; candy with and without cocoa; fruit and vegetable preserves and prepared foods; dairy; cattle and poultry meat processing; fish and seafood preparation and packaging; bread and tortillas, among others.
In Mexico, the processed food industry has reported significant growth in recent years, mainly due to its productivity and inputs availability, as well as the country's macroeconomic solidity, competitiveness to attract foreign investment and capacity to be an export platform to more than 40 countries with which it has trade agreements.
In 2012, Mexico's processed food industry produced 123.954 billion dollars, which represented 23.2% of the country's manufacturing GDP and 4.1% of its total GDP.
The main export destinations in 2012 were the United States, Japan and Guatemala, with shares in total Mexican exports from this industry of 68.5%, 6.3% and 2.4%, respectively.
In 2012, Mexico was ranked:
•Leading exporter of powdered cocoa with sugar.
•Third largest exporter of frozen cooked strawberries.
•Fourth largest exporter of pickled fruits and vegetables.
•Fifth largest exporter of candy without cocoa and puffed cereal-based products.
•Sixth largest cookie exporter.
The following are some of the leading Mexican companies in the processed foods industry:
•Grupo Industrial Lala
•Ganaderos Productores de Leche Pura
•Grupo la Moderna
Investment in Mexico has increased thanks to the country's cost competitiveness compared to other countries, its geographic location and specialized workforce.
In 2012, FDI summed 185 million dollars, reaching an accumulated value of 22.4 billion dollars during the 2002-2012 period.
The growth of foreign direct investment of the industry in Mexico is believed to extend from increased consumption, health trends and the country's capacity to produce a wide variety of foods.
According to estimates by CONACyT, 111,400 engineering and technology students graduated in Mexico in 2012.
Partnerships between industry and academia enable the continuous integration of new technologies to the food production chain.
Close to 20,000 higher-education students in Mexico are enrolled in agro-industrial engineering and food technology programs.
According to the Alix Partners 2011 US Manufacturing-Outsourcing Index, Mexico is the most competitive country in terms of manufacturing costs, which are approximately 21% lower than in the United States, 11% lower than in China and 3% lower than in India.
In the processed foods industry, Mexico offers 14.1% savings in manufacturing costs when compared to the United States.
Mexico has access to the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and is an intermediary in the North and South American markets, where growth is increasing.