Regional Group Pursues Food Processing Businesses for East

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The NCEast Alliance and ElectriCities are leading a group of local economic developers who are interested in attracting food/beverage production companies and their suppliers to eastern NC. The 2 ½ day Food Automation and Manufacturing Conference & Expo brings food and beverage processors and suppliers together to gain valuable information on the latest trends and technologies in manufacturing, automation, sustainability and food safety.

Eastern NC – April 7, 2014 –The NCEast Alliance and ElectriCities are leading a group of local economic developers who are interested in attracting food/beverage production companies and their suppliers to eastern NC. The 2 ½ day Food Automation and Manufacturing Conference & Expo brings food and beverage processors and suppliers together to gain valuable information on the latest trends and technologies in manufacturing, automation, sustainability and food safety.

Prescheduled meetings have been organized in which developers will meet with company executives considering relocation or expansion. The trade show includes high-level decision makers like Plant Managers, Vice Presidents, and Owners or Presidents.

Agriculture-related industries are nearly a $70 billion industry in North Carolina and much of it takes place in the east. Major companies like Butterball, the Cheesecake Factory, House of Raeford, Mt. Olive Pickles, Hillshire, and Smithfield Foods have a presence in the area as well as many smaller, entrepreneurial companies.

“The value-added ag cluster in eastern NC is a significant contributor to our regional economy,” said Kathy Howard, Vice President for Workforce & Client Development, NCEast Alliance. Value-added ag includes everything from lumber and paper products to advanced biofuels and food/beverage products. “While Eastern North Carolina already has a robust network of suppliers to support our food processors, there are gaps in that supply chain that may be filled by some of the companies with whom we will meet,” continued Howard. 

Just last year, plans were announced for more than 800 jobs and greater than $400 million in investment across the region in the value-added agriculture cluster. The industry employs around 20,000 in the region and nearly 5% of the area workforce.

“Participating in events such as the Food Automation and Manufacturing show gives us an opportunity to meet in a private setting with decision-makers of key companies. Presenting a unified voice on a regional scale is attractive to clients; with the unique assets of eastern NC and the critical mass of existing food processing employers, we are excited about the potential for additional investment in the area,” said Howard.

The NCEast Alliance is a regional economic development agency serving more than 1 million residents within several small metropolitan and micropolitan areas from the fringe of the Research Triangle to the Atlantic Coast. The Alliance provides community capacity building and assists companies with site location and expansion assistance.  For more information on the NCEast Alliance, visit us at www.nceast.org or call 1-800-474-8499.