Foreign Investment in Food Industry Slows

Associated Press

Foreign investment in the U.S. food industry has almost tripled since the mid-1970s but is showing signs of slowing, according to a report by the Agriculture Department.

Between 1976 and 1982, foreign ownership increased 60% in food manufacturing, 300% in wholesaling and retailing, and 600% in the rapidly expanding food service industry.

“Despite the growth, foreign-owned firms still employ only 3.5%, about 346,000 people, of the entire food industry work force,” the report said. “Foreign investment in the U.S. food system should continue to grow as the world economies become more closely linked.”

But the report, prepared by the department’s Economic Research Service, said the fluctuations in the exchange rate will sharply alter investment patterns. Most of the recent increase took place between 1978 and 1981 as a declining dollar reduced the price of U.S. assets.