Food & Beverage Manufacturing

Feeding our own. Feeding the world. Better. Together.

Food manufacturing is thriving in the Milwaukee Region. Our diverse mix of manufacturers profit from the region’s central location, abundant water supply, high-quality workforce and statewide agricultural resources.

More than 250 food and beverage manufacturing companies in the region employ nearly 15,000 people, with a majority in the food ingredients and seasonings/dressings industries. Wisconsin overall is home to nearly 1,200 food processing firms that employ 67,000 people and have combined gross annual revenues of $10 billion. Nationally, Wisconsin ranks among the top ten agricultural states in the U.S. 

In the Milwaukee Region, you’ll find fertile ground to grow your business. Cost advantages in real estate, labor and utilities contribute to the region’s lower business costs compared with coastal metro areas and surrounding Midwest markets.

Today, 33% of the U.S. value of agricultural products is produced within a 500-mile radius of Milwaukee.  Wisconsin ranks 5th in the nation for food and beverage manufacturers. Wisconsin’s well-maintained transportation network reduces time to market. Our state is also home to some of the largest interstate trucking firms in the U.S. and efficient rail access to both coasts.

The Milwaukee Region Food Industry Brochure highlights the advantages of doing business in southeast Wisconsin.

Global brands with operations here include: Birds Eye, Campbell’s, Cargill, Coca-Cola, General Mills, Nestle, Pepsi and Smith Field. And foreign direct investment includes: Chr. Hansen, Kerry, Kikkoman, Seda, Lesaffre/Red Star Yeast, Malteurop, Nature’s Path, Purato’s, and the recent attraction of Haribo.

Southeastern Wisconsin also boast the nation’s top ranking in food packaging and equipment manufacturing, as it is home to German-based Krones and KHS.

High Concentration of Talent that's Affordable
Within the food and beverage industry, the Milwaukee Region boasts the highest concentration of talent among the 50 largest U.S. metros.  The region's concentration of talent comes at a more competitive wage, ranking 13th lowest among major metros for average weekly wage.

Abundant Water, Lower Operating Costs
Located along Lake Michigan, the Milwaukee Region features an abundant, high-quality supply of fresh water to meet business demands. Water, sewer and electricity costs are lower than most Midwest markets. the City of Milwaukee has launched a new discounted water rate program to attract new business to the city. Businesses can get half-price rates if they move to the service area or expand existing operations to use more water and create jobs.

A Leader in Research and Development
Area food and beverage producers benefit from being just 80 minutes from the University of Wisconsin-Madison which offers a premier food science program and several institutes to support the food industry, including the Food Research Institute.

Investment Credits & Incentives
The State of Wisconsin offers a variety of incentives to assist businesses with their expansion and relocation projects, including tax exemptions, credits and other special incentives, including TIF districts and enterprise zones. Counties, cities and communities also have financial resources and work aggressively to encourage economic development.

There are a range of specific state food and beverage investment credits available to businesses, including the Manufacturing and Agriculture Credit, which virtually eliminates the tax on income from manufacturing activity in the state.

FaB Wisconsin - The State Food and Beverage Industry Cluster
The state's food and beverage industry cluster, FaB Wisconsin, is helping develop deeper industry intelligence and build a stronger network of companies to facilitate strategic growth in this sector. To learn more about FaB Wisconsin and its efforts, visit

Asenzya  Spices and seasoning blends  Oak Creek
Cargill Meat Solutions     Meat processing and distribution Milwaukee 
CHR Hansen, Inc. Flavorings and Extracts  Milwaukee
General Mills / Gardetto's Bakery Snack foods Milwaukee
Kikkoman USA Soy sauce Walworth
Klement's Sausage Company Sausages Milwaukee
Masterson Company Food ingredients and flavorings Milwaukee
MillerCoors Beer and malt-flavored beverages Milwaukee
Nestle USA Cocoa and chocolate products Burlington
Ocean Spray Cranberries Food extracts and fruit processing  Kenosha
Palermo's Pizza Premium frozen pizzas Milwaukee
Patrick Cudahy Sausage, bacon, ham and luncheon meats Cudahy
Sensient Technologies Colors, flavors and fragrances Milwaukee
Usinger's Famous Sausages Sausages Milwaukee
Wixon  Flavors, seasonings  St. Francis

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