Home to some of the world’s leading food companies, New Jersey has a long, celebrated history in the food industry. Our strategic location, transportation infrastructure and talented workforce give both industry giants and innovative startups the ability to stay competitive.
Campbell Soup Company has called Camden home since 1869 and continues to invest in its headquarters and the community. Mars Wrigley Confectionery has been making M&Ms® in Hackettstown since 1958. The company recently announced a new headquarters at Ironside Newark, bringing with it 500 jobs. Bai Brands, maker of coffeefruit-infused beverages, was launched out of a Princeton basement in 2009. In 2017, Dr Pepper Snapple Group bought Bai for $1.7 billion.
Saveur magazine called New Jersey the “most edible” State in America and Public Radio International dubbed us the “food capital of America.” Forget Philly…the best cheesesteaks are in Jersey, specifically Donkey’s Place in Camden. So said the late Anthony Bourdain. The New York Times proclaimed the best New York pizza can be found at Razza in Jersey City. Cape May Brewing Company’s The Topsail was the Beer in America in 2017. Cultural experiences of every kind can be found here—New Jersey’s deep immigrant roots contribute to a diverse dining scene and food production hub.
New Jersey’s strategic location and transportation infrastructure help food companies succeed. That’s why Wakefern Food Corporation, the nation’s largest retailer-owned cooperative, and Atalanta, the largest privately held food importer in the U.S., are both headquartered here.
Strategically located in the middle of the Boston – New York City – Washington D.C. corridor, New Jersey provides easy access to one of the most affluent consumer markets in the world. A distribution center in central New Jersey can serve more than 38 million consumers within 150 miles. Companies that rely on same-day deliveries believe that a New Jersey location gives them a competitive advantage.
The Port of New York and New Jersey, the 2nd busiest port in North America and the largest on the East Coast, make it easy to import and export food products. New Jersey is the #1 state in the Northeast for share of food production exports.
Many food companies are equally attracted to the State’s affordable real estate, which offers them more space for the money than neighboring New York.
Junior’s Cheesecake – manufacturer of quintessentially New York food products – made the move to New Jersey where affordable space for manufacturing and distribution facilities is widely available. Likewise, Oatly, the Swedish leader of the non-dairy revolution, chose a South Jersey location to meet North American demand for oat milk. In 2018, Oatly opened a $15 million, 25,000 square-foot U.S. processing plant in Millville—the first outside Europe. Oatly was named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies of 2019.
Our State is a leader in food innovation breakthroughs. New Jersey companies offering unique products and flavor fusions are in high demand from consumers across the world.
New Jersey has the highest concentration of scientists and engineers per square mile than any other state in America (tied with Massachusetts). Many of those professionals were trained in our State, which has one of the most highly-educated workforces in the nation. That’s why many big brands, such as Mondelez, not only has a significant manufacturing facility in New Jersey, they also located their headquarters and R&D center here.
Nestlé Health Science, one of the subsidiaries of the Swiss food and beverage giant, also chose to build its new headquarters and R&D facility in New Jersey. Nestlé cited the “commercial and technical competence” of the New Jersey region’s workforce as a key factor in the company’s decision.
New Jersey is also home to 134 of the worlds’ leading flavor, fragrance and ingredient manufacturers. In fact, 8 of the top 10 flavor and fragrance companies worldwide have a presence in New Jersey. The concentration of jobs and wages in the flavor and fragrance industry in New Jersey is 3 times the national average.
|wdt_ID||NEW JERSEY’S TOP FLAVOR, FRAGRANCE AND INGREDIENT MANUFACTURERS|
|3||IFF International Flavors & Fragrances|
Perfumer & Flavorist, Flavor & Fragrance Leaderboard, 2017
True to our name as The Garden State, New Jersey’s rich agricultural history serves as the foundation of our food ecosystem. With more than 9,000 farms spread across 720,000 acres, New Jersey generates $1 billion in farm revenue annually. Fruits and vegetables, the largest sector, bring in $367 million, with New Jersey ranking as a top producer of cranberries, bell peppers, spinach, peaches, blueberries, cucumbers and tomatoes. Nowhere else is “farm to table” more of a reality than New Jersey.
Considering we are also the most densely populated state in the country, it makes sense that New Jersey is on the forefront of the urban farm movement. AeroFarms – the world’s largest indoor vertical farm – grows up to 20 million pounds of leafy greens year-round without sunlight, soil or pesticides within a 70,000 square-foot converted steel mill in Newark’s Ironbound section. Since 2004, AeroFarms has reinvented farming as we know it and was named a finalist for Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas of 2019.
|1||Rutgers Food Innovation Center North||Piscataway|
|2||Rutgers Food Innovation Center South||Bridgeton|
|3||Organic Food Incubator||Bloomfield|
|4||Garden State Kitchen||Orange|
|5||Hudson Kitchen||Kearny Point, Kearny|
|6||The Kale Factory Incubator||Paterson|
Perfumer & Flavorist, Flavor & Fragrance Leaderboard, 2017
New Jersey’s food industry has access to notable agricultural and food manufacturing programs that provide a wide variety of research opportunities and resources for companies looking to break into the North American market.
Rutgers University’s New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) is where innovators test new ideas in agriculture by applying scientific principles and methodology to food cultivation and consumption. Campbell’s signature tomato soup and Heinz’s classic ketchup were modeled off the taste and color of the Rutgers-bred tomato. Today, NJAES is breeding a blight-resistant hazelnut tree to address a worldwide shortage.
The award-winning Rutgers Food Innovation Center (FIC) is a unique business incubation and economic accelerator that offers marketing, technical, regulatory, and manufacturing expertise to U.S. companies as well as international businesses looking to establish a presence in the U.S. FIC’s state-of-the-art USDA and FDA-inspected food processing facility has served more than 1,500 clients since 2001. FIC is the only “Soft Landings” incubator in the world devoted to food, providing valuable support to startups and established food companies alike. Impossible Foods, maker of the plant-based Impossible Burger, credits FIC as critical to its scale up path to develop production lines and seed the market.
Every culture, palette and delicacy is celebrated in New Jersey. We are home to the third largest population of foreign-born residents in the nation and rank the #4 state for linguistic diversity. From authentic Portuguese pastel de nata in Newark’s Ironbound section to some of the best Indian restaurants in the country in Edison, our State is a mecca for ethnic cuisine. Many international food companies see New Jersey as a cultural match, thanks in part to our diverse immigrant communities and ability to reach key markets.
Goya Foods, the largest Hispanic food company in the U.S., has been a cornerstone of the State’s business community since 1974. Goya unveiled a new, state-of-the-art corporate headquarters and distribution facility in Jersey City in April 2015, as part of a $250-million investment at its three New Jersey facilities. The new Secaucus plant has a net zero carbon footprint and is equipped to manufacture and distribute more than 4 million cases of Goya products annually. An innovative continuous motion line produces 600 boxes of Goya’s rice mixes per minute at a rate six times faster than the company’s past production capability.
Many leading and growing food companies have headquarters or significant manufacturing and distribution operations in New Jersey. Here are just a few:
|1||Wakefern Food Corporation|
|2||Campbell’s Soup Company|
|7||Bridor USA, Inc.|
|9||Clement Pappas & Co.|
New Jersey also offers qualified food companies a number of attractive incentives and workforce development programs.
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