When you open a new bag of flour or crunch into a fresh apple, it’s easy to forget that those products were not made in the grocery store. Every food product originates on a farm, although you don’t usually see that side of food production. The following people’s jobs allow you to conveniently purchase food from your nearest grocery store.
Every farm needs a dedicated team of transporters to take the food from the fields to shipping centers or other distributors. For example, people who have hopper bottom jobs drive large trucks of grain across the country, allowing you to make fresh bread or cookies even if you live nowhere near a farm that grows wheat. These employees also depend on the people who manufacture and maintain their trucks, and the workers who refine and sell gasoline.
Some farmers allow customers to pick their own produce in the summer, particularly for fruits and berries. However, large-scale farms depend on full-time pickers for produce that cannot be mechanically harvested. These workers’ jobs are seasonal and temporary, so they usually have to work in many different locations to support their families.
Once food has been picked, it must be packed conveniently for stores. Local shops often sell products in open boxes or cardboard cartons, but this strategy does not work for large grocery stores. Produce must be packed into plastic bags or cartons, which are then sealed. This packaging is made by even more workers, and it uses logos and color schemes created by graphic designers.
So many people are involved in the production of each food you eat that it’s hard to think about. The next time you open a bag of chips or peel a banana, take a second to think about all the people who worked to make your food consumption so convenient.