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Advanced Food Processing

Food processing refers to the methods and techniques used to transform raw ingredients into food items which can be consumed by humans or animals. Food processors use raw fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, and dairy products to manufacture finished products which are ready for sale to grocery stores, restaurants, institutional food services or consumers.   

Food processors typically manufacture items that fall into the following major categories: bakeries and tortilla manufacturing; fruit and vegetable preserving and specialty food manufacturing; dairy product manufacturing; sugar and confectionery product manufacturing; grain and oilseed milling; animal slaughtering and processing; animal food manufacturing; or seafood product preparation and packaging.

Advanced food processing involves any step in the manufacturing process that improves or “adds value” to the food product for the consumer and results in a higher net worth of the end product.  Advanced food processing can be defined as the application of technology to raw agricultural products for the purpose of loss prevention, preservation, food safety, and quality control or enhancement.

The Jackson Region has a small cluster of companies engaged in food processing activities which demonstrates the area has the resources needed to support the industry.

While other parts of the U.S. face water shortages, the Jackson Region has an abundant supply of water.  The aquifer from which the Jackson Energy Authority (JEA) obtains its water is considered one of the best supplies in the country.  JEA's water distribution system, which includes a network of elevated storage tanks and 800 miles of mains, ranging in size from four to 24 inches, has the infrastructure in place to support both new and expanding industry.

The Jackson Region has a labor force where nearly 30 percent are employed in manufacturing jobs.  This indicates the region has a trained workforce that possesses skills which might be desirable to such companies.