Globally food trade is a diverse and complex operation wherein, most countries strive to take part. Food industries are important food suppliers and are also great contributors to the food security of the nations.
With an expanding world economy, liberalization of food trade, growing consumer demand, developments in food science and technology, and improvements in transport and communication, international trade in fresh and processed food will continue to increase.
International trade in high-value food products has expanded enormously over the last decades, fueled by changing consumer tastes and advances in production, transport, and other supply-chain technologies.
Developing countries have successfully participated in this growing trade. Fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, fish, meat, nuts, and spices now account for more than 50 percent of the total agro-food exports of developing countries, while the share of traditional commodities—such as coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar, cotton, and tobacco—continues to decline.
One side the growing demand for differentiated products from increasingly sophisticated consumers, along with the growth of integrated international supply chains, is providing continuing opportunities for competitive suppliers of high-value foods by allowing them to target a market segment that suits their competitive profile.
On the other side globally, the incidence of food borne diseases is increasing and international food trade is disrupted by frequent disputes over food safety and quality requirements. Food quality has become an increasingly important topic during the last decades.
In developed countries, driven by aging populations and growing diet-related health concerns, consumer demand now shifting towards higher quality, more natural and healthier food. Given today's globalised markets, it can be assumed that – in line with rising consumption – international trade of quality food products (QFPs) is increasing.
Many food control systems need to be revised and strengthened if improvements are to be realized. Responsibility for food control in most countries is shared between different agencies or ministries.
Access of countries to food export markets will continue to depend on their capacity to meet the regulatory requirements of importing countries. Creating and sustaining demand for their food products in world markets relies on building the trust and confidence of importers and consumers in the integrity of their food systems
Trade in high-value foods can be inhibited by interceptions of products at border points or by outright restrictions on trade due to the presence of certain animal diseases or plant pests or diseases in potential exporting countries.