Trade & Industry Development recently highlighted several regions in the U.S. that are creating food and economic output. One of the regions was Columbia, Missouri.
Columbia is an ideal location for food production due to wide access to ingredients. Missouri’s agricultural products include rice, soybeans, cattle, turkey and hogs, and surrounding Midwest states also provide ingredients for products produced in Columbia.
“Columbia has been a business-friendly community for decades for the food industry with Kraft Heinz and Quaker Oats, and the addition of employers like Beyond Meat, Aurora Organic Dairy and Swift Prepared Foods solidifies our standing in the food manufacturing industry,” said Bernie Andrews, EVP of Columbia Regional Economic Development Inc.
In addition, the University of Missouri’s College of Food and Natural Resources provides access to research and innovation in animal sciences, food science and nutrition as well as opportunities for internships and employment. The Columbia campus of Moberly Area Community College offers an AAS Degree in Mechatronics and produces technicians trained to keep production lines, testing and maintenance equipment performing effectively.
Columbia, which is located in the center of Missouri on Interstate 70 and U.S. 63, is already home to many food producers. Kraft Heinz operates a plant in Columbia that makes about six million Oscar Mayer hotdogs each day. Quaker Oats runs a production facility in Columbia that has made rice cakes since 1995.
In 2013, Beyond Meat opened its first production facility in Columbia using technology developed at the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. It now has three facilities in Columbia. In 2017, Aurora Organic Dairy built a new organic milk processing and packaging facility. In 2021, Swift Prepared Foods announced a $185 million production facility that will employ 200 workers.