Food processing

What is food processing?

Food processing is when one type of food is used to make other foods.


Pasta sauce, ketchup and sundried tomatoes all look very different, but they have something in common…tomatoes!

Tomatoes follow different journeys to end up as each of these foods.

For example, they are cooked and mixed with lots of other ingredients, like garlic, to make a tasty pasta sauce.


In the UK, we eat a lot of grains like rye, maize, oats, barley and wheat.

  • Some grains are used to make breakfast cereals
  • Some grains are ground into flour. This flour can be used to make bread, pasta and cakes. Cakes also contain lots of sugar so you should enjoy them in moderation.
  • Other grains are used to feed animals


Potatoes can be processed to make roast potatoes, mashed potatoes, chips and even crisps.


We process foods to give us lots of variation in what we are eating and to make raw foods stay fresher for longer.

Can you think of any foods that last longer because they have been processed? What ingredients are in them?

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Tinned foods
  • Dried foods
  • Frozen vegetables

There's more to learn...

This guide
Different tomato based products for BBC Bitesize Food Processing guide.

Food processing