Raise a glass — or fork — to Lane County’s food and beverage manufacturers. They were among just a few sectors that actually added jobs in this latest deep and punishing recession.
They managed to create 189 jobs between 2007 and 2009, while Lane County manufacturers overall lost 7,345 jobs, according to the state Employment Department.
Some of that strength was from local dairies, bakeries and producers of other staples that people eat in both good economic times and bad. But it took more than bread and butter to carry food and beverage manufacturing through a recession that decimated many other industries.
It took skilled and enthusiastic wine and beer makers; food manufacturers with a national reputation as trailblazers in organic and natural foods, and innovators in the emerging, fast-growing markets of dairy-free and gluten-free foods.
Two Lane County companies now are the national pacesetters in a dessert category they pioneered.
“Turtle Mountain and Luna & Larry’s lead the dairy-free frozen novelties and desserts segment, with coconut-based products,” global market research firm Mintel International Group, wrote in an October 2010 report.
Read more in today's Register-Guard.