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As the holidays approach and food becomes an important part of our celebrations, you could use items made in North Carolina as part of your meal preparation.

Food production is an important part of North Carolina’s economy. It is the second highest contributing manufacturing sub-sector to the state’s GDP (It had been the highest for years until only recently.) Food production is also extremely important to the state’s rural economy with 95% of the state’s meat processing jobs and 78% of the jobs in breweries and distilleries located in the state’s 85 rural counties (NC Rural Center, “Our Manufacturing Future,” 2013).

A few suggestions:

  • While the meal is cooking, stave off hunger with snacks made by Snyder’s-Lance, headquartered in Charlotte
  • What green bean casserole would be complete without a can of Campbell’s soup? (Maxton)
  • Don’t forget your veggies! NC ranks #1 in the nation in the production of sweet potatoes, with highest production coming from Wilson and Johnston counties. If you prefer canned to fresh, you can find Bruce’s Yams in most grocery stores (Wilson)
  • Until recently, you could buy a House of Raeford turkey, but you can still buy one from Prestage Foods (St. Pauls, NC) and from turkey behemoth Butterball, headquartered in Garner, NC. Its Mt. Olive processing plant is the largest turkey processing plant in the world!
  • Craving ham instead of turkey? There are many sources in NC: Smithfield Foods, Johnston County Hams and Goodnight Brothers Country Ham, to name a few
  • For dessert, Sara Lee has you covered with a pound cake or cheesecake. If you crave a fancier cheesecake, The Cheesecake Factory produces its sweet treats in NC as well (both in Rocky Mount)
  • Oh, and if you are looking for a hostess gift, you can’t go wrong with a fruitcake! Try one made by Southern Supreme (Bear Creek)

Happy Holidays!


KeAnne Hoeg

KeAnne Hoeg is manager of market research and reporting for Industry Expansion Solutions. She describes her job as “playing with data.” Her group is responsible for managing required reporting to stakeholders, several internal applications, including the CRM system, the Manufactured in North Carolina website, knowledge management and data mining.