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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 41,800 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

1,100+

Food processing establishments

Georgia Department of Labor 2019 Annual

$9B

Food industry contribution to GSP

EMSI, 2019

7,000

New jobs (2015 - 2020)

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 2015 and 2020, more than 300 food processing businesses either expanded or moved new operations to Georgia, creating nearly 7,000 new jobs.

Starbucks to expand Augusta manufacturing plant

“The expansion will allow the plant to expand our production beyond soluble coffee, adding 6 new roasters for whole bean coffee. It’s also an opportunity for us to increase our contribution to the Augusta community, including many of the veterans who work in our plant and contribute to the area. The Augusta community welcomed Starbucks with open arms and we are excited to expand the plant and invest in Augusta.”

Tim Filipowski, Director, Starbucks Augusta Soluble Plants

Source: “Starbucks to Expand Augusta Roasting Plant,” Office of the Governor Press Release, 7.6.2017

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 $990 million 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

$990.6M

Poultry exported in 2019

2019 Georgia Global Trade Summary

1,200+

Miles of interstate highway in Georgia

GDOT, Interstate Mileage Report 2019

41.5K

Number of farms in Georgia

USDA 2019 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 5.6% compared to 11.8% nationally
  • The largest share of food processing jobs in the Southeast (23.4%)
  • A low state corporate tax rate of 5.75%
Food Processing Jobs in the Southeast

Industry Talent

72K

Total Food Processing Related Jobs

EMSI, 2020

+3%

2020 - 2025 Growth in Food Related Jobs

EMSI, 2020

$14.51

Food Processing Median Hourly Earnings

EMSI, 2020

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 “Leading Workforce Development Programs” for the 6th year in a row by Area Development Magazine in 2019.

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 2020