Utah's Recipe for Food and Beverage Projects
On January 14 - 16, the Economic Development Corporation of Utah exhibited at the NW Food Processors Expo in Portland, OR. Our presence at the show is in step with a recent trend: Food and beverage manufacturing projects are in the upswing in EDCUtah’s active project pipeline.
We asked a local expert for his perspective on the industry and how Utah stacks up. For more than five years, Josh Caldwell has served as Director of Business Development - Food and Beverage Group, for Big-D Construction.
In its five decades, Big-D has worked on more than 330 food and beverage projects in multiple states. These include processing, cold storage and warehouse/distribution facilities. Some notable Big-D clients in Utah include Swire Coca Cola, Dannon, Post Brands, Kroger (Smith’s), Sysco and Dean Foods. “We’re considered one of top ten, if not top five, food and beverage design builders in the country,” Caldwell says.
What are Utah’s advantages? “Workforce is a key factor. We share the same struggles for food and beverage manufacturing talent as other markets, but overall our workforce in Utah is of a higher quality and a greater depth than a lot of other places,” Caldwell says.
Infrastructure is another strong point for Utah. “We’ve got rail, highway and good access to water and power - all the basics,” he notes.
Cost of construction is competitive, he continues, as are land costs. The state also benefits from good inventory in existing structures, particularly for processing operations. “Processors want to be closer to product suppliers, and Northern Utah has good access to farms and other resources.”
How do we compare to neighboring states, such as Idaho?
“Idaho has a very strong dairy industry, and processors and distributors find that attractive. But I point out to potential clients that Logan is just as close to suppliers in the Twin Falls area as Boise is. When you combine that proximity with Utah’s quality and quantity of workforce, it’s a compelling argument.”
Jake Berlin anchored EDCUtah’s team at the Portland show. For more information on potential food and beverage opportunities in Utah, contact Jake at firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-323-4247.