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Food and Beverage Processing

Food processing is one of the largest manufacturing sectors in Virginia, representing 34,500 jobs and a direct economic output of $25.2 billion. Hampton Roads has a large food manufacturing cluster which offers food processing companies located in the area a competitive advantage because of the availability of industry-specific resources.

Companies such as Smithfield Foods, the largest pork producer in the world, call the region home. Founded in Hampton Roads, it has grown to become a global food company with a presence in 12 countries. Additionally, companies like Kraft Foods, Lipton/Unilever, Massimo Zanetti Beverages and High Liner Foods continue to expand.

Key Companies

  • Anheuser-Busch InBev
  • Birdsong Peanuts Corporation
  • High Liner Foods, Inc.
  • Keurig Green Mountain
  • Kraft/Heinz Company
  • La Tienda Specialty Foods
  • Marva Maid
  • Massimo Zanetti Beverages, USA
  • Unilever/ Lipton

Regional Industry Highlights

Logistical Advantages

  • 47 hour rail transit time to Chicago
  • Central location on the Atlantic Coast with 47% of US population within a one-day drive of the port
  • The Port of Virginia is served by every major shipping line and offers direct service to 80+ ports worldwide
  • 3 million square feet freezer and cooler space within a 20 minute drive of The Port of Virginia’s terminals
  • Cold storage warehouses are close to 6 major highways, reducing transportation and costs

Workforce Benefits

  • Approximately 8,000 people within the region are employed in Hampton Roads’ food and beverage processing industry.
  • Workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance are among the lowest in the nation.
  • Right-to-work laws allow individuals to work regardless of membership in a labor union.

Culinary Institutions

  • Culinary Institute of Virginia: College of Culinary Arts of ECPI University
  • The Pruden Center for Industry and Technology
  • The Art Institute of Virginia Beach
  • Tidewater Community College: The Culinary Arts Program
  • Stratford University: Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management
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