New Trends Create Opportunity in Ohio’s Food Industry

May 21, 2019 | News, Newsletter

Joe Needham
JobsOhio

 

 

Food manufacturing is in the midst of disruption. There are three main drivers of change in the food industry: financial pressure, consumer preference and technology. These changes present an opportunity to retain and expand market share in Ohio. In an effort to capture the breadth and depth of Ohio’s end-to-end food system for LEDOs, I’ve written a white paper called Opportunities and Trends in Ohio’s Food Industry.

Our state’s food and agribusiness sector contributes $16.4 billion, or 2 percent, to Ohio’s gross state product (GSP). That’s almost double the state average of other industries. More than 1,300 food manufacturing facilities of all sizes employ about 70,000 people. From farms to the tables of consumers, food and agribusiness companies in Ohio have access to assets to set them up for continued success. In addition to significant corn, bean and soft wheat production, Ohio is home to one of the largest food manufacturing industries, extensive food packaging production, storage and distribution systems, and a strong food retail system. Pet food is also a fast-growing market in Ohio. Four of the top five pet food manufacturers are located here, including J.M. Smucker, which purchased Big Heart Pet Brands a few years ago.

Significant changes in the food, beverage and forestry sectors are being driven by financial pressure on food manufacturing margins, rapidly evolving consumer preferences and advances in technology. Mega trends in food include consumer preferences shifting toward convenience, nutrition and sustainability. These changes are driving realignment among food manufacturing companies, including numerous new niche manufacturers/marketers, as well as increased investments around ingredients, packaging, distribution and R&D.

Several food and agribusiness companies have added research and development facilities across Ohio dedicated to the science of food, from safety to taste to nutrition. These companies include Kroger, Tysonâ (AdvancePierreâ), SugarCreek and Nestlé. New technology is also making its way to the factory floors, where fully automated warehouses offer effective packaging to increase food safety and extend shelf life.

All of these disruptors will continue to drive the food industry, often times paving the way for new food concepts that are in tune with consumer demands. Trends will generate business interest, investment and change. Our team at JobsOhio is eager to partner with local communities to recognize, encourage and support the food sector.

To learn more about opportunities in the food industry and for a copy of the white paper, Opportunities and Trends in Ohio’s Food Industry, contact me by email at needham@jobsohio.com.

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