North Carolina has a long and successful track record of supporting the food and beverage sector. From workforce training to consulting services, powerful resources exist to support continued growth of this important industry.

Connect with our Economic Development team to learn more.

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Our deep experience and trusted relationships can help you find the right community and site for your growth needs.


Every public power community in NC has its own local flavor, but they all share common traits: a track record of reliable energy and the flexibility to adapt to changing community and local business needs. Need other reasons why an NC public power community is a great place to plant your business?


N.C.'s Industrial Electric Rate is 10% BELOW the national average

North Carolina has the lowest corporate income tax in the United States

An education network of universities and community colleges in N.C. supports customized training for your company

More than 460,000 total manufacturing workers, largest in the Southeastern U.S.

Powering a Flourishing Food Industry in NC

When it comes to the food-processing industry, “Everything is up,” said Ben Simpson, Membership Director at the American Bakers Association (ABA), a bakery-specific national
and state trade association.

Joe Parker welcomes visitors to JP’s, his thriving gluten-free bakery

“We’ve got demand through the roof, but the cost of ingredients, costs of production (including electricity and natural gas), and labor issues are also way up,” he said. “It’s a very
challenging operational environment.”

Even with the industry’s challenges, North Carolina remains a top spot for food-processing businesses—bakers included.

Along with being ranked the top state for business by CNBC and having a top business climate according to Business Facilities, North Carolina boasts several advantages for businesses, including:

  • Lowest corporate tax rate at 2.5%.
  • Industrial electricity rates below the national average.
  • Building costs below the national average.
  • Largest manufacturing workforce in the Southeast, backed by a network of universities and community colleges that support customized training.

North Carolina’s public power communities—those that own and operate their electric systems—are particularly well suited to meet food processing industry requirements.

For manufacturers, even the slightest downtime can mean huge loses, so it matters that North Carolina public power providers keep the power on 99.98% of the time.

But food manufacturing isn’t typical manufacturing, explained Ron Fish, Assistant Director for Agribusiness Development in the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Division of Marketing.

Along with electricity and natural gas, water is critically important for food manufacturers. “That’s why we have an advantage over the West Coast,” Fish said “We’re seeing major opportunities in the rural areas because of the availability of natural water.”

JP’s Pastry in downtown Benson, North Carolina

Bringing a food manufacturer into a community requires a lot of players to work together. Having electric, gas, and water services all under one roof—as is the case in many public power communities—simplifies the process.

Joe Parker, owner of JP’s Pastry, a gluten-free bakery located in the public power town of Benson, North Carolina, has developed a close partnership with the Town. His is the only business on his block with products requiring refrigerators and freezers to stay viable. On some occasions, like when a bird flew into a transformer over the July 4th holiday, he has alerted the Town of an outage when his freezer’s power sensor pinged his phone. Customers having that direct line to and personal service from their energy provider is typical of public power.

Rasma Zvaners, ABA’s Vice President of Regulatory and Technical Services, said the pandemic drove some of the through-the-roof demand for baked goods Simpson mentioned. But even before the pandemic, artisan and niche products were on the rise.

Brenna Favara agrees. She’s a marketing specialist with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services who works with the Got to Be NC program and the North Carolina  Specialty Foods Association. She gets applications daily for Got to Be NC—usually from smaller companies that make crafttype products—and said the specialty foods group has more than tripled its membership in the past year.

That wouldn’t surprise Parker. “We’ve been here eight years, and it’s become a destination,” he said. “People walk in here and start crying because they find food they can eat.”

“These consumer trends have caught the attention of a lot of international companies,” said ABA’s Ben Simpson. “We’ve talked to a lot of companies that don’t have a production presence in the U.S. and are starting to build a sales and distribution footprint for their more French bread brioche-level products. Those sales are really strong.”

When those companies come looking for a new home in the U.S., North Carolina will be ready with the perfect recipe of reliable public power, available workforce, and ready sites.

Smart Sites® and Shell Buildings

Critical production demands can’t always wait on a lengthy construction project. We created the Smart Sites® program to offer more shovel-ready property for economic development growth in our member communities. The valuable due diligence included in our program assists site selectors in making informed, intelligent choices. In short, the Smart Sites® program simplifies the process for consultants and companies and minimizes risk to them.

Looking for a move-in ready manufacturing space? Many of our member communities have shell industrial buildings that may suit your needs. Below are just a few of our many available Smart Sites® and Shell Buildings.

Learn More About Smart Sites
Learn More About Shell Buildings

Connect with us for additional information on these and other available properties.

Additional Key Industries within Public Power Communities

The plastics and composites industry remains one of the strongest components of North Carolina’s diverse manufacturing sector.

Read more about Plastics
From research-driven start-ups to global giants, more than 600 biotech companies call North Carolina home.

Dive deeper into Biotechnology/Life Sciences
The Information Technology industry is easily one of the fastest growing segments of North Carolina’s economy. More than 18,000 technology businesses operate in the state, and collectively employ almost 250,000 people.

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Raleigh, NC 27604

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Huntersville, NC 28078

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