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Cheers! Here’s why Food & Beverage processors love Lehigh Valley

By LVEDC Staff on May 28, 2014

LVEDC logo smallEDITOR’S NOTE: The optimal industry target selection is based on the site-specific characteristics of the Lehigh Valley economy. Using results from the previously completed Competitive Realities Report, the Assets and Challenges Assessment, focus groups, and field visits, four industry targets were chosen that best match the unique competitive advantages in the area to the needs of particular industry sectors. For each target, a bulleted list of rationales is presented and identified as appealing to the needs of prospects (P) or the community (C).

The Food & Beverage Processing target represents a distinct area focused on leveraging Lehigh Valley’s economic assets with numerous new subsector opportunities driven largely by the industry’s response to changing customer demands.

The Food & Beverage Processing sector is in the midst of significant upheaval and presents substantial opportunities for new firm attraction and development.

Consumer demand divided across a wide range of eating preferences is rapidly fragmenting the industry. Product innovation is being driven largely by evolving consumption desires in variety, health and convenience.

A sample of the developing food categories demonstrates the immense variety in the sector: ethnic, fresh, organics, restaurant-quality frozen, meal kits, handheld entrees, fortified, and gluten-free.

Growth of the beverage market, characterized in the breweries and wineries subsectors, demonstrate the rising appeal of craft and unique local offerings.

Rationale

• Presence of Lehigh University’s Center for Manufacturing Systems Engineering. (P)

• Among top recommended industry target in stakeholder focus groups. (C)

• Central location and well-developed transportation infrastructure. (P)

• Availability of agricultural products for food processing. (P)

• Water and sewer capacity. (P)

• Availability of water and sewer lines to industrial sites. (P)

• Local Manufacturing sector exhibits a strong local competitive effect. (P)

• Average target subsector national earnings of $71,219. (C)

• Average target subsector five-year forecasted growth of 5.6 percent. (C)

• Strong existing local pool of high-demand occupations. (P)

• 111 annual post-secondary completions in critical fields from local institutions. (P)

• Quality of place assets: ample opportunities for cultural activities, recreation, shopping,

Food & Beverage Processing Subsectors

  • Breakfast Cereal Manufacturing
  • Cheese Manufacturing
  • Snack Food Manufacturing
  • Mayonnaise, Dressing & Prepared Sauce Manufacturing
  • Spice and Extract Manufacturing
  • Dog and Cat Food Manufacturing
  • Breweries
  • Wineries

NEXT WEEK: We’ll dive into “Building on Solid Foundations.” The Lehigh Valley has a rich history of creating and investing in economic development foundations and assets to make it a good location for business. This asset base is key to the region’s competitiveness.

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