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The Food & Flavoring Industry Feeds Our Local Economy

From manufacturing ingredients to processing equipment and indoor-grown produce to award-winning distilleries, Cincinnati is a leader in this integral economic industry.

REDI Cincinnati’s research team has developed industry sector analyses, and these insightful documents highlight the most important areas poised to drive the region’s economic progress, both in the present and the near future. Spanning diverse sectors, the reports touch upon areas from sustainable packaging to semiconductors. Their comprehensive nature ensures that stakeholders have a clear understanding of emerging trends and potential growth avenues.

The following report focuses on the food & flavoring manufacturing industry, which, when grouped with agribusiness, represents a vital sector of the American economy. And here in Cincinnati, food manufacturing is a powerful economic driver that feeds a growing population.

What Do We Mean By Food Manufacturing?

As an industry, food manufacturing is a cornerstone economic sector—understandably so, as it supplies one of the most basic needs for human life. And while much of what’s commonly referred to as “agribusiness” concerns livestock and crop farming (which does see significant representation in both the region’s outlying and core areas), the Cincinnati region is home to a number of different food & flavoring and beverage businesses.

For instance, our region has a strong presence in the flavoring syrup and concentrate manufacturing subsector, with companies like Givaudan Flavors Corp., the world’s largest manufacturer of flavors and scents, headquartered here. (Wild Flavors, an Arthur Daniels Midland Co., and MANE Inc. are other flavorings companies that call Cincinnati home.) Specialty processing businesses such as Avure Technologies also reside here, and you can also find ice manufacturing, spice and extract manufacturing, fats and oils blending and refining, cheese manufacturing, and even dog and cat food manufacturing.

On the beverages end, you may not need us to tell you that our city really loves beer, and this love of quality libations translates to a major portion of our region’s success in this sector. This is, of course, no accident—Cincinnati has a centuries-old history with beer-making and today possesses an expansive brewing ecosystem, all the way down to a rich reserve of taste and smell testers. In recent years, in fact, Boston Beer Co. announced the largest-ever investment in a Cincinnati brewery with an $85 million expansion to its downtown facility. And don’t forget about distilleries, which benefit from the region’s libations ecosystem as well as proximity to a deep history with spirits.

Moving Numbers

So, aside from knowing our region plays a big role in producing the food that feeds America and the world, what does all this mean? In short: jobs.

Our region saw an impressive 8% job growth rate in the food manufacturing sector between 2018 and 2022, with local jobs climbing over 18,000 last year. This is a higher-than-expected number of jobs here in Cincinnati, as the national average for a region our size would predictably produce 14,000 jobs. And job earnings in this sector are 18% higher here than the national average, too.

This growth is possible in large part due to total business growth of 24% in the same period.

In terms of breaking down these jobs, specialty canning (1,623), flavoring syrup and concentrate manufacturing (1,554) and breweries (1,436) are the top three areas of employment regionally. However the most job growth has been seen in fluid milk manufacturing (627% increase); dog and cat food manufacturing (463%); and dry pasta, dough and flour mixes manufactured from purchased flour (304%).

These are impressive numbers, but let’s put some names to these figures.

  • Nestlé Purina Petcare Co. has invested $550M locally for a 1.2M-square-foot facility in Clermont Co. that’s expected to create 300 jobs in the coming years.
  • Coca-Cola Consolidated invested $30M locally and created some 430 new jobs in our region.
  • 80 Acres Farm, a local indoor hydroponic farm and produce supplier, continues expanding locally, recently investing $74M for a new facility in Boone County, Kentucky, that created 125 new jobs. This comes on the heels of it’s nearly $27M headquarter investment in Hamilton, Ohio, in 2019.
  • Pretzel product maker Ditsch announced an expansion within the region that will lead to 150 new local jobs. The company’s growth includes a building purchase and renovation that features installation of fully automated bakery lines and increased freezer storage capacity.

Cincinnati as a Food & Flavoring and Beverages Leader  

There are a number of reasons why our region is such a strong player in the food & flavoring and beverages industry. Primarily, though, it’s safe to say we’re just good at it. Legacy businesses such as Castellini Produce and Kroger have invested more than a century in local food business, and our regional talent is well-versed and practiced in the labor that makes this industry work so well.

And we’re not going anywhere—literally (geographically), which is another major point when you consider Cincinnati’s essential placement in national logistics. Cincinnati is within an 8-hour drive of 60% of the U.S. population, a 1-hour flight from half of the nation’s population and a 90-minute flight away from 66% of all major U.S. markets. And CVG airport, which is home to Amazon Air’s primary U.S. Hub and DHL Express’ Global Superhub for the Americas, is the 7th largest cargo airport in North America. Everybody eats (and drinks), and with that kind of logistical strength, our growth in this industry is definitely secure.

From local microbreweries to flavoring R&D epicenters to pet food manufacturing, Cincinnati has a large part to play in the food and flavorings industry of today and tomorrow.   

Learn More

Interested in learning more about the Food & Flavoring in the Cincinnati region? Visit the dedicated page on REDI Cincinnati’s website or contact Trevor Wellbrock, REDI Cincinnati director of business development (; 513.579.3110).