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Food Manufacturing Keeps Pace in Georgia

Business is delicious in Georgia when food processing remains the top manufacturing sector across the State for another year.

Georgia Delivers for Food Processors

Business is delicious in Georgia when food processing remains the top manufacturing sector across the State for another year. Not only does this industry stay at the top, but it also continues to grow. Since 2018, we've shared over thirty-five companies that have announced business locations or expansions in Georgia.

So why do global snack leaders Jack Link’s, home-grown Stuckey’s Corporation, or international firm Kerry’s think Georgia is the best place for their business? Whether it’s staying close to their suppliers, or a variety of options for receiving/sending products, transportation and logistics play a significant part in attracting these businesses.

Mitigating risks to production from supply chain disruptions is at the top of my mind of most manufacturers post-pandemic.

Last year, Stephanie Stuckey, CEO of Stuckey’s, was interviewed for Site Selection Magazine about several Georgia acquisitions the business made.

Keeping production in Georgia was a decision to reduce the risk associated with supplies for the family’s famous pecan rolls, “We’re based in Eastman, where my grandfather started this company, and our No. 1 commodity is the pecan,” she shared. “It’s grown in Georgia. We’re the No. 1 pecan-producing state in the No. 1 pecan-producing country in the world. We produce a third of the nation’s supply right here in Georgia.”

Check back later this month for our recent interview with Stephanie to learn how the facility and business have grown since the Site Selection interview.

Pecans are a top crop, but with over 9 million acres of active farmland growing, processors have plenty of options when looking for seasonal inputs. Agribusiness has over a $74 billion annual economic impact yearly; that’s a lot of peanuts!

White Oak Bluffton

Being the fastest growing port is not enough; Georgia's ports are focused on sustainability.

It’s not enough to be close, fast, or dependable; global food brands and their customers have an eye on sustainability. According to SIAL Insights 2022, food businesses respect for the environment is a top trend for consumers. This applies to every step of the process - including the shipping.

The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) has received a lot of attention the past few years for it's growth. Since last July, the start of the 2022 fiscal year, GPA has handled over 4.75 million containers, an 8.5% compound annual growth rate. The port's growth is supported by being the largest single-container terminal in North America with service from two Class I railroads — Norfolk Southern and CSX. It is also served by the largest concentration of import distribution centers on the East Coast and offers immediate access to two major interstates — I-16 and I-95.

But being one of the fastest growing is not enough. Over the past several years, GPA has voluntarily implemented a series of facility and operations improvements to increase efficiency while respecting the environment.

From switching to electric refrigerated container racks and greater reliance on rail, to adding team members that will oversee sustainability efforts, the GPA views growth and sustainability as connected.

"Georgia Ports cares about our neighbors – locally, regionally, nationally, and globally," Tiffoni Buckel McCartney, Manager of Corporate Sustainability, said. "We're dedicated to sustainable growth, creating opportunities for the community to thrive, economic development, and prosperity."

Port of Savannah

What's Next?

As food processors are seeking ways to improve efficiencies and implement sustainable - Georgia partners continue to collaborate to meet these demands.

Learn more about we are working with our partners, available sites, or talk to a member of our economic development team, to discuss why food manufacturers thrive in Georgia.

Kerry Executives at Groundbreaking in Rome