US Food & Beverage Sector


Contribution of the Food sector to US GDP


World's largest Food and General Merchandise retailer

About the US Food & Beverage Sector

The food and beverage (F&B) industry is a massive industry in the United States. The US is home to over 36,000 food and beverage processing plants, which employ about 2 million people. This is over 15% of the manufacturing jobs in the US. Meat processing plants make up 29%, bakeries are 15%, and beverage processing plants make up 12% of the 2 million F&B manufacturing jobs in the country.

Some of the states with the most food and beverage manufacturing jobs are California, New York, Texas, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Florida. As of 2017, California has approximately 5,700 F&B manufacturing plants, while New York has 2,600, Texas has 2,300, Pennsylvania has 1,600, Illinois has 1,500, and Florida has 1,300.

In spite of the fact that numerous industries had suffered losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the F&B industry has held up fairly well against such odds. Although public dining decreased due to closure and later on the lowered consumer confidence and safety, the massive growth of at home consumption has helped offset this. This growth came with increased e-commerce and delivery options.

The pandemic also proved to be an opportunity for the industry to engage in innovations. For example, McDonald’s sent a letter to its customers talking about more convenient and contactless ways to purchase food via things like drive throughs and mobile order-and-pay. Dunkin’ Donuts partnered with GrubHub as more companies realized that they could no longer rely on older business models. Panera added grocery items to their offerings as more entities shifted to selling retail with meal revenues being reduced. There were even cases of farmers selling directly to consumers.

The industry has clearly learned to accommodate and adapt to changes which will only serve to benefit it as well as consumers in the future.

(You can get more information here about how to start a food & beverage business in the United States. You can also view the top trade shows in the US for the industry here.)