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 2005, companies in the food and beverage sector have invested $1.9 billion and created more than 7,700 new jobs in the Commonwealth.

Virginia's Food Processing Industry

  • One of Virginia's largest manufacturing sectors
  • Virginia is home to more than 620 food processing companies employing more than 34,500 people
  • Meat and poultry processing (12,910 employees), beverage manufacturing (5,478 employees), and other food manufacturing (4,872 employees) comprise 67 percent of all food processing employment
  • Beverage manufacturing (187 firms), bakeries and tortilla manufacturing (162 firms), and other food manufacturing (77 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

Key Companies

  • Smithfield
  • Perdue
  • Tyson
  • Cargill
  • Kraft Foods
  • McKee Foods
  • Hershey
  • PepsiCo
  • Coca-Cola

  • Boar’s Head Provisions
  • InBev
  • Nestle
  • MillerCoors
  • Gatorade
  • Green Mountain Coffee Roasters
  • Lipton
  • Sabra Dipping Company
  • Stone Brewing Co.

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 Department of Food Science and Technology's Value Added Product Development division offers access to a packaging and processing pilot plant, among other resources ranging from financial assistance to food safety regulatory assistance.
  • 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.
  • 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.


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