Food is a social unifier and an important part of our daily life. Some of our fondest memories are tied to the foods we eat. Today, consumers want food that is healthy, convenient and flavorful. This unique mix of freshness and taste is challenging the food industry to innovate.
Food processing companies are focusing on making their ingredients safer, tastier and more satisfying. While some companies struggle to navigate this shift, Ohio’s food processing and food flavoring companies as well as other food entities are rising to meet this new expectation for high-quality foods and beverages.
Food and Agribusiness in Ohio
At its core, Ohio is a strong food and agribusiness state. Food and agribusiness is the largest industry in Ohio, with hundreds of companies that cultivate, process, package, distribute and market food and drinks. Ohio provides the perfect environment for companies because it has plenty of natural resources such as abundant land and fresh water; commodities such as soybeans and dairy; processing, packaging and distribution facilities; a multifaceted infrastructure; and a common-sense regulatory climate that fosters efficiency. From farm to table, Ohio guarantees food freshness and quality.
When the world hears “Ohio is a food test market,” people aren’t surprised. In fact, this is a well-known claim supported by years of testing carried out by companies in state and out of state. Ohio’s population is diverse and plentiful, and food companies crave the input of this market.
Kroger, Bob Evans, Abbott Nutrition, Smucker’s and Wendy’s are all headquartered in Ohio. Daisy, General Mills, Heinz, Campbell’s and Nestlé have significant operations in the state. These companies will often test in their neighboring communities to save on cost. Why go anywhere else when the perfect food testing market is in your backyard?
In the mid-1800s, Cincinnati was big in pork, which is why it received the nickname “Porkopolis.” As the years went on, this reputation was fed by companies like Kroger and Procter & Gamble. The Cincinnati region continues to grow, as the critical mass of food companies in the area allows global companies to source from just one area and enables regional companies to share knowledge and skills. When you have a proven concentration of industry resources, like Cincinnati has for food (or Silicon Valley has for tech), the demand attracts more companies that want to take advantage of this specialized environment.
Home to the Second Largest Hub for Flavoring in the U.S.
Ohio’s food industry also benefits from Ohio’s reputation for food flavoring. Many food flavoring companies are located in Southwest Ohio. In fact, the Cincinnati region is known as the second largest food flavoring hub in the U.S. Some of the world’s largest leaders in the industry, such as Givaudan, MANE, Frutarom and WILD Flavors, all have major operations in the Cincinnati region. As a result, Cincinnati has built an environment with programs, resources and improved processes that support food flavoring companies and open the door to pursue new trends.
Innovating and Growing Quickly
Sometimes, even the best flavors need to improve to accommodate consumer preferences. For food companies pursuing improvements, Ohio has many resources to help them innovate and create new products. These resources include:
- Center for Innovative Food Technologies (CIFT): CIFT in Toledo provides a mix of business solutions, innovation and technical expertise to the food processing, agricultural and manufacturing sectors. CIFT works with private companies, university researchers and governmental agencies to create new technologies and establish best practices. This collaboration has brought about success for companies.
- Ohio Valley Section of the Institute of Food Technologists (OVIFT): OVIFT is a nonprofit scientific society representing all areas of the food industry. It’s dedicated to promoting new technologies and state-of-the-art practices and supporting the industry’s education and research programs.
- The Ohio State University offers an extensive number of food resources and initiatives, including the Flavor Research and Education Center.
- Miami University’s Institute for Food engages students to learn about sustainable farming practices and improve access to quality food in the region.
- Cincinnati State Technical and Community College Midwest Culinary Institute and engineering programs have been nationally recognized for their coursework in culinary and pastry arts, dietetics and hospitality technologies.
Your Future in Food and Flavoring
Every day, consumers are scrutinizing the ingredients in the food they’re buying. They’re picking up products and putting them back on the shelves because the food is unhealthy. In Ohio, your products can stay fresh and you can stay innovative. There’s a reason food companies are adamant about investing in Ohio. Its consumers represent a microcosm of America, and its resources can help you achieve a profit here and anywhere. Thanks to the right ingredients, Ohio provides an extra kick to the world’s food and flavoring industry.
Interested in learning more? We’d love to talk to you! Contact me or Joe Needham for more on Ohio’s food and flavoring opportunities.