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|Thursday, July 18, 2013|
BY TIM MCCABE | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
Oregon has been recognized as an ideal location for manufacturers of all kinds, and recently we’ve seen particular success with companies involved in food processing. Whether it’s a 30-person operation producing artisan, organic raviolis (Classic Foods – Portland) for Northwest restaurants or a potato processor in eastern Oregon making french-fries for consumers around the world (ConAgra), Oregon is the place to be in the food business.
In 2012, 940 food and beverage companies, employing 28,500 Oregonians, produced goods valued at $8.5 billion. In addition to these existing manufacturers, we are working with companies from France, the United Kingdom, China and Japan that are looking to locate facilities here in Oregon.
There are at least four good reasons for their interest:
First is Oregon’s close proximity to the huge California market and its 38 million consumers.
Second, Oregon’s transportation infrastructure with good access along the western U.S., and the Port of Portland and its easy connection to the Pacific Rim for exports.
Third, we grow a lot of products that manufacturers can add value to, especially in the Willamette, Hood River and Rogue River valleys. Much of Oregon’s 220 different agricultural commodities can be used by food processors to create new products.
Finally, we have a highly trained and skilled workforce and a competitive business climate. Food processing plants operated by Bridgetown Natural Foods, Pacific Natural Foods and NORPAC employ state-of-the-art technology and workers who are among the best-trained anywhere in the nation.
Success stories abound across the food processing sector in Oregon. Amy’s Kitchen, the natural foods producer located near Medford is a great illustration of how a long-term partnership can pay off for Oregonians.
The company recently completed its latest expansion — a $19 million project expected to create at least 70 new jobs and push the company’s White City workforce to more than 800 employees by early 2014. The company chose to expand in Oregon rather than South Carolina primarily due to our proximity to organic food growers.
Amy’s Kitchen expanded into southern Oregon in 2006 to open a new, $60 million production facility, thanks in part to a $375,000 forgivable loan from the Governor's Strategic Reserve Fund.
In the summer of 2012, the company embarked on its latest project, a $9 million expansion resulting in a 50% increase in the company's production capacity for its frozen food entrée line.
The production capacity increase came upon the heels of the company's construction of a new 140,000-square-foot warehouse and an addition to an existing frozen foods warehouse. Those projects were completed in April 2012.
Amy’s Kitchen was one of the exhibitors joining Business Oregon recently as we led a team from Oregon to three food industry trade shows to market the state. Oregon had a dominant presence at the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California, with 55 Oregon exhibitors displaying their wares and connecting with potential customers from around the world. Exhibitors included The Better Bean Company, Kettle Foods, Inc. and Betty Lou's — all of whom Business Oregon has partnered with successfully in the past.
At such trade shows, Oregon has emerged as one of the leading homes for specialty and natural food producers. Natural food leaders such as Betty Lou’s (McMinnville), Pacific Natural Foods (Tualatin) as well as Portland-based Bridgetown Natural, Classic Foods and Better Bean are fast pushing us to the top. In addition, Oregon is becoming better known for high-quality, specialty foods such as Moonstruck Chocolates, Rogue Creamery cheeses, Frog Eyes Wasabi and Stumptown Coffee.
Throw in Oregon’s top notch breweries, wineries and distillers and the industry has delivered a bounty of economic benefits for Oregonians.
Tim McCabe is the Director of Business Oregon.
Friday, October 17, 2014
BY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER
How can you move from a command-and-control leadership model to one of true empowerment and accountability? David Marquet did, and he took notes along the way.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JASON NORRIS
Historically, when the leaves fall, so do the markets. This year, earnings, Europe, energy and Ebola have in common? Beyond alliteration, they are four factors that the investors are pointing to for this year’s seasonal volatility.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
BY DIANE BUISMAN
Some common misconceptions employers have about marijuana.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
BY RYAN CARSON | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
How do we skill up our future technology workforce in a smart way to take advantage of these high-paying jobs? The answer shouldn’t focus only on helping people get a bachelor’s degree.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
BY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR
Each month for Oregon Business, we assess factors that are shaping current capital market activity—and what they mean to investors. Here we take a look at two major developments regarding possible rollbacks of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Friday, November 14, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY
Oregon entrepreneurs reveal their favorite caffeine hangouts.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JON BELL
Oregon tribes still bet on casinos.
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Is your business ready to join us in the call for action? This opening panel includes Oregon businesses who will discuss why they signed the Oregon Climate Declaration, the investments they are making to reduce carbon emissions, and how their actions are affecting their companies.
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