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Angling for food processors in the Golden State

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State and local economic development officials in Oregon continue to look south in hopes of attracting food processing companies that may consider leaving California or expanding operations elsewhere. Part of the effort is a trade show currently taking place in Anaheim:

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For the second straight year, representatives of local communities are joining specialists from the Oregon Department of Agriculture and Business Oregon as they participate in a large natural foods show in California. ODA’s Jerry Gardner says the idea is to recruit food companies:

GARDNER:  “A lot of folks want to leave California and go somewhere else. So that’s why we’ve been down there hitting the shows in San Francisco and in Los Angeles.”  :10

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Representatives of more than a dozen Oregon communities are attending the show, making a personal pitch that could help their own local economies:

GARDNER:  “Normally, we talk about food processing interest around the state and you’ve got three or four people. Well, here’s 13. They are all sending their own representatives at their own expense to go down there.”  :11

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The Natural Products Expo West Show attracts hundreds of companies, many of them from California. Oregon will have a booth set up to explain the state’s food processing capacity, advantages, and a list of available industrial properties. If it makes good business sense for a California company to make Oregon home, the welcome mat is out. In Salem, I’m Bruce Pokarney.

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GARDNER says one of the leads they are getting are from California companies that may be interested in having an existing Oregon company process and package products for them:

“One of the interesting parts of this is that we are finding people who want co-packers to manufacture their products for them. It’s hard to find good co-packers. So we bring those leads back to our folks.”  :11

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GARDNER lists some the key processing areas that seem to be interested in coming to Oregon:

“Dairy is a big one. We see a lot of things going on right now like Greek yogurt, cheese. Meat processing has been a big one. There’s people still interested in processing meat locally to supply local markets.”  :17

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