The Brazilian food industry, among the largest in the world, is comprised of 45,000 registered companies; approximately 86 percent of them are small businesses with less than 20 employees. Food processors’ major focus is the domestic market, which accounts for almost 80 percent of revenues. Food processing sales to the retail sector represents about 67 percent of the domestic market, and the food service sector 33 percent.
The processing industry interacts with different food channels: retailers, wholesalers, food service operators, other food processing companies. Although it is a common practice to establish exclusive or semi-exclusive contracts with limitations on geographic areas and/or restrictions on product lines, in Brazil the food industry operates quite freely.
In 2015, the Brazilian food processing industry grossed US$168.3 billion, which represented approximately 9.5 percent of the country’s GDP. Expected growth for the segment in 2016 is 1 percent. Although Brazilian consumers are cutting back and economizing as a direct result of the current economic situation, the food industry is one of the most resilient of the Brazilian economy and increasingly invests in manufacturing value-added products.