Food & Agribusiness

The food and agribusiness industry employs more Ohioans than any other industry, with more than 2,000 food-related companies that cultivate, process, package, distribute and sell food and drinks for use around the world.

Key facts

  • Food and agribusiness adds about $105 billion annually to Ohio's economy.
  • The food processing cluster employs 68,370 Ohioans and contributes more than $12 billion to the GSP.
  • More than 14 million acres, or 55 percent, of Ohio's total land area is devoted to agriculture. There are 73,400 farms in the state.
  • More than 1,100 food processing plants export nearly $4 billion annually.
  • 200 different crops are produced in Ohio, led by corn and soybean. Poultry, pork, dairy and sheep also top the list of the state's commodities in production value.
  • 10,000 dairy farms are active in Ohio.

National position

  • One of four states with more than 50 percent of its land classified as "prime farmland"
  • 11th in number of farms
  • A leader in more than 35 food product sectors; among top five in bakery, dairy, snacks, syrup, spices and beverage production
  • Second largest hub for flavoring R&D
  • Seventh largest number of organic farms

Major players

  • Large food processing companies in Ohio include Campbell's, Daisy, Dannon, General Mills, Heinz, Nestle and Mondelez International.
  • 24 food processing companies employ more than 1,000 each at their Ohio facilities.
  • Abbott Nutrition, Bob Evans, Kroger, Marzetti, Smucker's and Wendy's have Ohio headquarters.
  • Top restaurant employers include Bob Evans, Covelli Enterprises (Panera Bread/O'Charleys/DQ franchisee) and Frisch's (Big Boy); each are among Ohio's top 100 employers.

Top employers

  • Kroger - 43,850
  • Giant Eagle - 19,000
  • Meijer - 12,000
  • Bob Evans - 11,100
  • Frisch's - 4,100
  • Nestle - 3,600

Recent trends

  • Ohio's double-digit growth rates in the number of organic farms, organic land in production and organic sales are significantly outpacing national averages. From 2015 to 2016, Ohio's organic sales increased by 30 percent to $101 million, and its number of farms increased by 24 percent to 575.
  • An increasing array of global food research facilities are based here, including those at Nestle, Smucker's, Wendy's, The Ohio State University and the Center for Innovative Food Technology.


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