The food processing industry in Virginia is one of the commonwealth’s largest manufacturing sectors with 14% of Virginia’s total manufacturing employment.  In 2016, Virginia’s food processing industry employed more than 35,000 workers, and produced more than $25.9 billion in direct economic output.  Additionally, since 2006 Virginia food processing companies invested over $1.9 billion in the commonwealth and created over 7,300 new jobs.  

Key Facts on Virginia's Food Processing Industry

  • One of Virginia's largest manufacturing sectors
  • Virginia is home to more than 679 food processing companies employing more than 35,000 people
  • Meat and poultry processing (13,216 employees), beverage manufacturing (5,978 employees), and other food manufacturing (4,798 employees) comprise 68 percent of all food processing employment
  • Beverage manufacturing (219 firms), bakeries and tortilla manufacturing (174 firms), and other food manufacturing (85 firms) are the three largest sectors
  • More than 185 licensed breweries call Virginia home, an increase from 44 in 2011

Source:  Virginia Economic Development Partnership

Virginia Tech's Department of Food Science and Technology has an integral role through its undergraduate and graduate programs, research and extension programs. The department also offers access to packaging and processing pilot plants, among other resources ranging from financial support to food safety regulatory assistance.

Emphasis Areas

  • Food Safety
  • Seafood and Aquaculture Quality
  • Enology and Fermentation Science
  • Dairy Processing
  • Food Innovations Program