Food Processing

The ingredients to grow your food processing and packaging business.

Have your cake … and eat it too. It’s possible in the Northeast Ohio Region.

Food manufacturing is a thriving cluster in Northeast Ohio, with more than 500 food processors – including big names like H.J. Heinz, Nestlé USA, J.M. Smucker and Pillsbury, as well as many smaller firms – supplying food and beverage products to consumers worldwide. The region also offers more than 200 food packaging providers, with an emerging specialty in sustainable packaging materials.

A trained talent pool of more than 23,000 food manufacturing and production workers, easy access to raw materials and suppliers, and an abundant supply of fresh water from Lake Erie make Northeast Ohio an ideal location for food processing businesses. The region gains additional strength from resources across Ohio, which is home to the complete food value chain, including industry-leading research and development, essential inputs, processing and manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, and transportation. With partners throughout the state, the Northeast Ohio Region is able to bring food and beverage products to market efficiently and cost-effectively.

Download our resource guide and learn more about the Food Processing industry within the Northeast Ohio Region.

Northeast Ohio boasts an appetizing environment for food processing and packaging companies 

The region offers speed, low risk, and low capital and operation costs to ensure maximum return on investment. 



23,000+ food manufacturing and production workers


85% industry GRP growth (2008 – 2017)


top 10

Top 10 food processing regions in the U.S.


14 million

14 million acres of farmland


330 million

330 million people reached within a day by truck

Success Story: Great Lakes Cheese

Great Lakes Cheese, an award-winning, premier manufacturer and packer of natural and processed bulk, shredded and sliced cheeses, expanded its existing manufacturing operations and built a new Corporate Headquarters in Northeast Ohio. The plant expansion includes an additional 290,000 square feet of manufacturing and warehouse space. The company currently employs more than 650 employees in Ohio and expects to hire an additional 400 over the coming years as a direct result of these projects.

According to Great Lakes Cheese President and CEO Dan Zagzebski, the company has grown from a small food stand in Cleveland to one of the largest cheese manufacturing and packaging facilities in the world.

“Our Legacy of excellence is innately tied to this community and our many Ohio employee-owners,” said Zagzebski.

Top 10 Food Processing Employers in Northeast Ohio

Nestle USA3,184
The J.M. Smucker Co.1,822
Shearer’s Foods LLC1,171
Covelli Enterprises Inc.1,100
Great Lakes Cheese1,020
Kraft Heinz Company700
Sandridge Food Corp.650
Fresh Mark500
Schwebel Baking Company450
Snack Alliance400
Source: Emsi Burning Glass 2021 

Additional information including occupation code, wages, and entry level education is available upon request from Team NEO.  

Top 10 Food Processing Occupations in Northeast Ohio

Packaging and Filling Machine Operators and Tenders2,707
Food Batchmakers1,959
Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand1,101
Slaughterers and Meat Packers1,081
Meat, Poultry, and Fish Cutters and Trimmers872
First-Line Supervisors of Production and Operating Workers853
Packers and Packagers, Hand702
Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers, and Weighers655
Industrial Machinery Mechanics632
Sylvio Mecone

Sylvio Mecone

Senior Director of Business Development, Team NEO

Contact us.