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 Feature Industry Articles 
Tuesday, November 20 2018
Profiling the Food and Beverage Industry: Trends In Baking And Snack Foods

By Frank Spano, Managing Director and Kyle Johnson, Location Consultant, The Austin Company

The food and beverage industry in the United States has shown positive signs of expansion over the past ten years. Forecasts and growth models indicate this expansion will continue into the future, though possibly at a slower rate. The following factors may assist in explaining this upward trend:

  1. Major plant upgrades at existing operations or replacement of older, outdated facilities. Continued plant upgrades and existing plant expansions may result in more automation and less job growth.
  2. New product innovation based on changing consumer demands.
  3. Continued market entry into the U.S. from smaller and medium-sized European and Asian operations, along with continued growth from established foreign-owned operations located in the U.S.

One notable portion of the food and beverage industry, the baking and snack food industry, shines as an important segment of the U.S. economy with nine percent growth from 2007 to 2017. The following discussion examines this industry over the past ten years and makes general conclusions on its projected growth.

Posted by: AT 10:16 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, May 29 2018
Food, Glorious Food!

By Jay Garner, President, Garner Economics LLC & Cyndi Dancy, director of research, Garner Economics LLC

Top Areas for the Food & Beverage Manufacturing Industry
The food and beverage industry remains a generous slice of the nation’s manufacturing sector with steadily increasing employment. Consumers drive trends on what is being produced, how it is packaged, and the industry continues to adapt and thrive. Metro areas with large populations have a foothold on food productions, while other areas have found their specialties driving employment.

More than 1.8 million people across the United States work in food and beverage manufacturing sectors as of June 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These two sectors show continual employment growth since 2010 with strong advancement in the past five years.  

Posted by: AT 01:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, November 29 2017
Looking Beyond the Site for Food and Beverage Expansion: How to Assess the Surrounding Community and Region

By Frank Spano, Managing Director and Susan Riffle, Manager of Communications, the Austin Company

The food and beverage industry is enjoying a healthy growth spurt; the food products sector is among the fastest-growing of U.S. manufacturing, adding 95,000 jobs so far in 2017, representing a seven percent increase over the past five years. The U.S. beverage sector is also growing substantially, adding 66,000 jobs so far in 2017, representing an impressive 39 percent growth over the past five years.1

Along with such growth comes the need for expansion by manufacturers. With that expansion comes new facilities located in new communities and the generation of incremental jobs for those communities. Undoubtedly, the food and beverage industry holds a great deal of promise for regions and municipalities lucky enough to attract them. The competition is fierce, especially since the industry has rigorous criteria when defining site suitability. Site and property criteria determined to be important for the food and beverage sector was explored by Austin Consulting and published in the September/October 2017 edition of Expansion Solutions ( 

Posted by: AT 09:42 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, June 01 2017
Change: A Constant in the Food and Beverage Processing Sector

By Jay Garner, President, Garner Economics LLC

One thing is for certain, you can count on change being a dynamic influence in how food and beverage processors operate. Why? Because consumer preferences constantly evolve, and consumers drive food and beverage output.

Food and Beverage Facilities and Jobs by the Numbers
First, let’s look at the statistics of where these companies are located and how many people they employ.

Food processing is defined by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code of 311. Beverage manufacturing is comprised of code 312.  Combined, this sector in 2016 had 41,046 processing facilities, employing 1,748,503 people in the U.S. (BLS).

California leads the U.S. with the most facilities and employment, primarily because of its strong farming output in the Central Valley.

Posted by: AT 07:38 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, November 22 2016
Setting the Table for Successful Food Manufacturing Plant Location: Logistics are Key

By Frank Spano, Managing Director and Susan Riffle, Manager of Communications, The Austin Company

Economic change affects all industries, but some are more recession-resistant than others. The food industry is a good example of that. Consumer habits may change due to the economy: restaurants are more popular during times of prosperity, home cooking is more appropriate when times are lean. In either case, the food industry is fueled by consistent consumer demand, although the nature of that demand is, more than ever, constantly in flux.

During May of 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics placed employment in the food processing sector at slightly under 1.5-million workers. Annual payroll during this period was approximately $57.5-billion dollars.

If these figures aren’t enough testament to the sector’s overall health, the industry itself proves to be very optimistic. According to the 2016 annual U.S. Food & Beverage Industry Study, released in June by WeiserMazars LLP, most food and beverage companies anticipate a significant increase in sales this year. Survey participants — drawn from over 200 companies across the food and beverage industry — are confident that sales will increase 14 percent compared to 2015, and project net profits will rise by 10 percent.1  That optimism has proven not unfounded: the latest industry figures from CSI Market cited net income in the food processing industry in the second quarter of 2016 as having improved by 53.95 percent over 2015, with quarter-over-quarter net income growth well above the manufacturing industry average.2

Posted by: AT 11:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, May 23 2016
Food Processing Today: Organics (and Beer) Win!

Have there been any changes in food processing lately? Yes there has, big time!

Let’s look at my morning so far. After my walk, I prepared some green juice for my wife and me using our Breville juicer, as I do every day that I’m not traveling.

It makes about 12 ounces of delicious green juice that will absorb into your cells and become “life force energy” within about 15 minutes. It makes you feel energized and ready for the day!

I next had a bowl of cereal. I had recently bought some new gluten free multigrain Cheerios and low sugar Grape Nuts. I chose the Grape Nuts today and added some organic raspberries and blackberries followed by organic hemp milk. Delicious and healthy!

I started to think about shopping for these breakfast items. We recently shopped at:

  • Costco – they now post many green signs and the signs mean organic items.
  • Sprouts – a new lower priced supermarket similar to Whole Foods with a gigantic organics produce section. They started here in Phoenix and are expanding east, now in Nashville and Atlanta.
Posted by: AT 10:41 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, November 30 2015
Determining if an Existing Building is Compatible for a Food Processing Operation

By Frank Spano, Managing Director and Susan Riffle, Communications Specialist of Austin Consulting

Food processors planning to expand or construct new processing facilities do so for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Increasing market share
  • Penetrating new geographic areas
  • Replacing outdated, inefficient operations
  • Introducing new product lines

Once the decision is made to construct a facility, the company must determine the geography where operating costs are minimized for the new operation. Important considerations include labor and utility costs and availability, taxation policies, community characteristics, and potential assistance programs at the state and local level.

Considering an Existing Building
Real estate, by nature, is equally important. Manufacturing operations, including food processers, are continually trying to overcome high start-up costs in new plant construction. Food processors are concerned with speed of entry to market and will explore opportunities to reduce time and transportation costs. One important variable to consider is utilizing an existing building versus constructing a new facility on a greenfield site.

Posted by: AT 10:11 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, May 20 2015
Site Selection Trends and Factors in the Food Processing Industry

By Jay Garner, CEcD, CCE, FM, HLM,
President, Garner Economics, LLC

If there is such a thing as a recession-proof industry, the Food and Beverage (F&B) Industry is it. During good times and bad times, people eat and drink. Whether the economy is experiencing unprecedented growth or recession, folks continue to consume food and drink products.  Some eat to live, while others live to eat. Some eat in, while others eat out. Today, the F&B Industry continues to expand and to evolve in order to meet the ever-changing demands of consumers.

In the United States 30,135 companies are defined as F&B process manufacturers (up by more than 1,500 companies since 2010). These businesses employ more than 1.4 million employees. However, a 47,000 decrease in employees since 2010 demonstrates how innovative manufacturing processes and automation can mean fewer jobs.

Posted by: AT 11:18 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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