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Food Processing

Georgia's top manufacturing sector

Why Georgia for Food Processing?

Georgia is an ideal home for food processing – it’s the state’s leading manufacturing sector in terms of employment and gross state product (GSP). With more than 41,400 farms producing a variety of food commodities, Georgia’s processors capitalize on an abundance of raw materials. Georgia is home to a highly-skilled, affordable workforce, exceptional transportation infrastructure, and world-class technological resources geared toward promoting the success of the food processing industry.

Georgia's strengths:

  • Abundant agricultural assets
  • Skilled, affordable workers
  • Excellent accessibility to market
  • Business-friendly environment

Food Processing in Georgia

1,200+

Food & beverage processing businesses

Georgia Department of Labor 2020 Annual

$9B

Food & beverage industry GSP

EMSI, 2021

6,850

New jobs (2017 - 2021)

Georgia Power C&ED

New and existing companies find Georgia a great place to do business

One of the best measures of an industry’s success in a region is that region’s ability to attract and retain businesses belonging to that industry. Between 2017 and 2021, more than 30 food processing businesses either expanded or moved new operations to Georgia, creating 6,850 new jobs.

Hometown Bakery Thrives in Georgia

“Our first headquarters and bakery opened in Atlanta over 35 years ago. As our business has grown, we chose to relocate and expand to Gwinnett County, so we could meet the needs of our customers by providing unique artisan-style breads.”

Cheryl Barre, CEO, Epi Breads

Source: “Custom Bakery Bringing 300 Jobs to Gwinnett,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 5.13.2021

Frito-Lay Expands in Georgia

“For more than 30 years, the Frito-Lay Perry site has been a proud member of the Houston County community and a key contributor to the Georgia economy. As the largest Frito-Lay manufacturing facility in the U.S., our Perry site employs more than 1,000 dedicated employees. We appreciate the support and vision of state and local officials – including the team at the Development Authority of Houston County – who have been instrumental to our continued growth.”

Callum Bissett, Senior Site Director, Perry, Frito-Lay North America

Source: "Frito-Lay Announces $200 Million Expansion, 120 New Jobs,” AllOnGeorgia, 7.9.2020

New Food Processing Locations

Industry Segments in Georgia

Animal Processing is the dominant segment within Georgia's food processing industry. Georgia is the poultry capital of the world with more than $1 billion in annual exports to markets around the U.S. and world.

  • Animal Food Manufacturing
  • Grain and Oilseed Milling
  • Sugar and Confectionery Product Manufacturing
  • Fruit and Vegetable Preserving and Specialty Food Manufacturing
  • Dairy Product Manufacturing
  • Animal Slaughtering and Processing
  • Seafood Product Preparation and Packaging
  • Bakeries and Tortilla Manufacturing
  • Other Food Manufacturing
  • Beverage Manufacturing
Food Processing Industry Mix in Georgia

Georgia's Food Processors and Distributors

The map to the right includes food processing operations and food distribution locations with 50 or more employees.

Georgia's food processing ecosystem is well established, with a thriving agricultural industry, diverse blend of manufacturers who take advantage of abundant, local raw materials, a strong system of distributors, and a transportation infrastructure second to none.

Food Exports and Farms

$1.06B

Poultry exported in 2020

2020 Georgia Global Trade Summary

1,200+

Miles of interstate highway in Georgia

GDOT, Interstate Mileage Report 2019

41.4K

Number of farms in Georgia

USDA 2020 State Agriculture Overview

Georgia’s competitive business climate is ideal for manufacturers.

Competitive wage rates, an abundance of skilled workers and a business-friendly environment make Georgia an ideal place for manufacturing. Georgia’s wages for manufacturing occupations related to food processing are typically lower than those of the U.S. overall. Georgia is highly competitive within the Southeast as well, with an advantage over surrounding states based on the concentration of food processing workers and low wages. Additionally, Georgia’s employment-at-will, right-to-work status, and low unionization rates help the state’s food processing operations remain at the forefront of increasingly global markets.

  • A unionization rate of 6.5% compared to 12.1% nationally (% covered employees)
  • The largest number of food and beverage processing jobs in the Southeast (74k industry workers)
  • A low state corporate tax rate of 5.75%
Food & Beverage Industry Workers

Industry Talent

427K

Total Food Processing Related Jobs

EMSI, 2021

+5%

2021 - 2026 Growth in Food Related Jobs

EMSI, 2021

$14.64

Food Processing Median Hourly Earnings

EMSI, 2021

Talent Critical to Food Processing

Based on staffing patterns for food and beverage processing industries, Georgia has an abundance of workers employed in critical occupations. The graphs to the right illustrate the character of Georgia's food and beverage processing talent. Major occupations include:

  • Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand
  • Maintenance and Repair Workers, General
  • First-Line Supervisors of Production and Operating Workers
  • Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers, and Weighers
  • Helpers--Production Workers
  • Slaughterers and Meat Packers
  • Bakers
  • Food Cooking Machine Operators and Tenders

Explore Your Workforce

Discover your community's readiness for food processing by exploring existing industry-related talent close to home.

Georgia’s workforce training programs are world-class.

Having a trained and efficient workforce is paramount in maintaining a competitive position in the marketplace. Georgia’s extensive network of technical colleges and the state’s highly touted Quick Start program help ensure that food processing operations have the level of workers needed to be successful.

Georgia was ranked #1 in the U.S. for “Workforce Development Programs” for the 8th year in a row by Area Development Magazine in 2021.

Georgia Quick Start: Georgia’s internationally recognized skills-based training program that provides job-specific training at no cost for qualified new and expanding companies. Food processors in Georgia can rely on Quick Start’s broad experience in food manufacturing technologies.

Food Processing Publication

Food Processing in Georgia 2021