Quality assurance operator in food packaging factory.

Food Processing and Manufacturing

Creating jobs from what we raise and grow.

Growing Jobs

Increasing the size and scope of the state’s food and beverage manufacturing economy — which is entirely possible given North Carolina’s highly diverse variety of crops, livestock, soils and climate — is the cornerstone of the Food Processing and Manufacturing Initiative.

Our collaborative partnership with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and other agricultural and food industry leaders, will focus the strengths of our university, government and industry partners on a common goal — an enhanced food entrepreneur assistance program centered on job growth.

Based on a 2014 economic feasibility study commissioned by the North Carolina General Assembly, food manufacturing could potentially contribute 38,000 jobs and add $10.1 billion to our economy — helping replace manufacturing losses in textiles, furniture and tobacco.

By increasing value-add capacity to the agricultural commodities we raise and grow, we intend to grow the economic impact of agriculture and agribusiness in our state to $100 billion by 2025.

How NC State drives food processing and manufacturing innovation. Food processing infographic: Take the products of North Carolina's number one industry. Add research and technology from its largest university. Transfer that knowledge to commercial endeavors. Create jobs, new products and a manufacturing economy.
Food processing infographic: Take the products of North Carolina's number one industry. Add research and technology from its largest university. Transfer that knowledge to commercial endeavors. Create jobs, new products and a manufacturing economy.

Bringing Manufacturing Back to N.C.

North Carolina has a rich history of processing its natural resources into value-added products. But over the last several decades, three of of the state’s traditional industrial strengths — textiles, furniture, and tobacco — have experienced significant economic decline.

The decline in these manufacturing industries has led to underutilization of capacity throughout the state, particularly within the rural regions. This initiative is exploring how to harness our underutilized capacity to strengthen and grow our value-added food manufacturing sector.

From innovations that can transfer commercially to increased payrolls at new manufacturing sites, the initiative’s aim is clear: Grow new jobs in manufacturing, particularly in our rural areas.

To do this, NC State and our initiative partners must move promising technologies and strategies from the lab to new manufacturing facilities across the state.

Cartons of PowerPack travel through the packaging process in an NC State food processing facility.

Expertise in Action

Our experts in Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences help homegrown food manufactures process and package an abundant, safe, nutritious, flavorful, and affordable food supply for a growing population.

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Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Our university develops and transfers new technologies and research to startup and commercial enterprises. These new technologies drive innovation and efficiencies that will result in entrepreneurial development in communities across North Carolina and around the globe.

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