Food Processing

Industry Overview

The Commonwealth of Virginia has long recognized food processing as a driving force in the national and Global economy. Food processing companies have taken notice. Since 2006, companies in the food and beverage sector have invested $1.9 billion and created more than 7,300 new jobs in the Commonwealth.

Virginia's Food Processing Industry

  • One of Virginia's largest manufacturing sectors
  • Employs more than 35,000 people
  • Beverage manufacturing (219 firms), bakeries and tortilla manufacturing (174 firms), and other food manufacturing (85 firms) are the three largest sectors
  • More than 145 licensed breweries call Virginia home, an increase from 44 in 2011, click here to learn more about the industry
  • To view the complete Food Processing Industry Profile, click here
  • To view the Agribusiness Profile, click here
  • To view the complete Advanced Manufacturing Industry Profile, click here

Key Companies

  • Boar’s Head Provisions
  • Cargill
  • George's Turkey
  • Hershey
  • Kraft

  • McKee Foods
  • PepsiCo
  • Perdue
  • Smithfield
  • Tyson

Assets/Virginia Advantages

  • Virginia’s central East Coast location and premier transportation network allow companies to reach customers anywhere in the world with ease.
  • Virginia’s corporate income tax rate of 6% hasn’t changed since 1972. Companies also benefit from tax exemptions on purchases of machinery, tools, replacement parts and raw materials used in production, as well as all utilities delivered through pipes, mains and lines for any purpose. Virginia also do not tax accounts receivable, inventory, computer software or other intangibles.
  • Workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance are among the lowest in the nation. The unemployment tax burden is approximately 20% lower than the national average, and right-to-work laws allow individuals to work regardless of membership in a labor union.
  • Virginia offers low electricity rates, state-of-the-art utilities and telecommunications infrastructure, and construction costs are nearly 14% lower than the national average.
  • Virginia Tech's Department of Food Science and Technology offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, research, and an extension program.
  • Virginia Tech’s Human and Agricultural Biosciences Building (HABB1) houses a state-of-the-art sensory research laboratory and a biosecurity level 2 food processing pilot plant, as well as analytical and microscopy laboratories, a nanoscale research laboratory, and pilot scale research facilities
  • Virginia Tech's Department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise routinely works hand-in hand with Food Sciences and Technology to jointly address issues on nutritional value and product development/packaging.
  • Virginia Tech’s Department of Sustainable Biomaterials offers an undergraduate in Packaging Systems and Design
  • Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, home to the Virginia Packaging Applications Center, offers students a cutting-edge training lab providing extensive, hands-on experience through its Advanced Manufacturing and Packaging Technology curriculum.
  • The Center for High Performance Manufacturing (CHPM) at Virginia Tech works to help manufacturing firms stay competitive via research, development and education
  • Virginia State University’s (VSU) College of Agriculture conducts many specialized programs through its Agriculture Research Station and Cooperative Extension
  • Virginia State’s Randolph Farm provides agricultural related research, demonstrations and instructional activities at its 416-acre agricultural learning center
  • Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, home to the Virginia Packaging Application Center (VAPAC), offers an Advanced Manufacturing Technology curriculum


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