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Food + Beverage Processing


Industry Employment



Job Growth


$1.8 Billion

Economic Presence

(2018 GDP)

Industry Presence + Specialization

Steeped in its classical positioning of effective market proximity, the Greater Memphis region provides significant competitive advantages for companies within food and beverage processing. In fact, these industries comprises 16% of total manufacturing employment and has realized 4.7% job growth over the last 5-years.

With a regional presence of over 100 business establishments, area employers have access to a diverse supply chain of raw materials, unmatched water quality, and an experienced pool of talented workers. Shown in the table below, industries that comprise food and beverage processing are highlighted with historical, current, and projected employment. In addition to strong employment across a variety of industries, the Greater Memphis region hosts strong specializations within Grain and Oilseed Milling, Dairy Product Manufacturing, and Sugar and Confectionery Product Manufacturing.

Industry Description2015 Jobs2019 Jobs2023 JobsJob Growth 2015 to 2019 (%)Projected Job Growth 2019 to 2023 (%)2019 Location Quotient
Grain and Oilseed Milling1,4901,4151,403-5.0%-0.8%5.47
Beverage Manufacturing1,0751,058937-1.6%-11.4%0.92
Dairy Product Manufacturing1,0061,0101,0300.4%2.0%1.58
Other Food Manufacturing7219081,00225.9%10.4%0.95
Sugar and Confectionery Product Manufacturing8198649325.5%7.9%2.67
Animal Slaughtering and Processing190439599131.1%36.4%0.2
Fruit/Vegetable Preserving and Specialty Foods504430409-14.7%-4.9%0.59
Bakeries and Tortilla Manufacturing11417823156.1%29.8%0.13
Seafood Product Preparation and Packaging201171147-14.9%-14.0%1.15
Tobacco Manufacturing25616890-34.4%-46.4%3.65
Animal Food Manufacturing6610510959.1%3.8%0.39
Food+Beverage Processing Total6,4416,7456,8914.7%2.2%
Note: Employment estimates derived from Economic Modeling Specialists International, Q2 2020 dataset QCEW Employment.
Location Quotient: Measured against the Nation, location quotients (LQ) are a useful way of quantifying how concentrated a particular industry, cluster, or occupation is in a region as compared to a larger geographic area. An LQ of 1 is equally concentrated within both areas. An LQ of 1.5 indicates that the smaller geographic region is 50% more concentrated regionally, and an LQ of 2 indicates the geographic region is twice as concentrated regionally. An LQ of 0.5 indicates the smaller geographic region is 50% less concentrated against the larger geographic area.

Workforce Presence

Analyzing critical mass and growth by occupations helps paint a robust picture of regional labor presence and workforce supply. Shown in the table below, the top ten primary occupations employed through a food and beverage processing facility are highlighted. Shown within, Greater Memphis has over 60,000 residents employed in these occupations. Collectively, these occupations grew 13.2% from 2015 to 2019 and host competitive wage rates 7.5% less than national averages.

Occupation Description2019 JobsAvg. Hourly Earnings
Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand40,969$14.80
Industrial Truck and Tractor Operators6,235$16.84
Packers and Packagers, Hand5,329$12.62
Packaging and Filling Machine Operators and Tenders2,683$14.93
First-Line Supervisors of Production and Operating Workers2,633$28.78
Food Batchmakers1,368$18.03
Meat, Poultry, and Fish Cutters and Trimmers358$11.43
Separating, Filtering, Clarifying, Precipitating, and Still Machine Setters and Operators229$17.57
Food and Tobacco Roasting, Baking, and Drying Machine Operators and Tenders157$21.79
Food Cooking Machine Operators and Tenders152$15.66
Regional Employment, Primary Food + Beverage Occupations60,113

Regional Infrastructure

Memphis has the second-largest concentration of transportation and warehousing employees in the United States and is within a two-day drive of 75% of the U.S. population. This gives manufacturing companies within the region a competitive advantage in distributing products. Memphis is home to FedEx, the busiest cargo airport in North America, has five Class-I Railroads, and has the fifth largest inland port in the U.S.

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Greater Memphis Chamber | 22 North Front Street Suite 200 | Memphis, TN 38103-2100 | 901-543-3500
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