Transformations in the food processing sectors of developing countries are increasingly seen as strategic from the point of view of export earnings, domestic industry restructuring and dietary issues. This article reviews a selection of the literature on these themes. It begins with a discussion of the main trends identifiable in the food processing industries of the three regional blocs of the developed world, since it is their combined impact that determines the complex patterns of globalization. There follows a discussion of the importance of non-traditional food processing exports by developing countries and the different interpretations to which it has given rise. The internal transformations of the food processing sector of developing countries under the combined impact of imports and FDI are then considered. We conclude with a discussion of the heterogeneous dynamic of food processing in developing countries and the different possibilities for strengthening the participation of small and medium enterprises.