Did that headline surprise you? The most populous county in the state with just under a million residents is also a hot-bed of food manufacturing with more than 140 companies employing about 5,000 people. Why Bergen County? Location, location, location seems to be the common refrain when most business owners are asked why they chose to locate their companies in Bergen.
At the recent Building Bergen event held at Bergen Community College, food manufacturers discussed the many reasons they chose to locate their businesses where they did. One, most of their employees take mass transit and can easily to get to their place of work. Second, transporting their products is easier with access to all major interstate highways right out their back door. Third, proximity to New York City, one of the largest consumer markets in the country, is only minutes away.
The newly created federal Opportunity Zones will lead to the expansion of existing companies and the establishment of new food manufacturing businesses in Bergen County, according to experts. Many of the approved tracts are where food manufacturers are currently located – Hackensack, Lodi, South Hackensack, Teterboro, Englewood, Garfield and Fairview to name a few.
Passaic, Essex and Camden counties are not too far behind Bergen in terms of total food manufacturers. These counties will likely see a boost with Opportunity Zones being identified in and around many of their existing manufacturing businesses. From pitas to pasta, prepared sandwiches and gourmet oils, food manufacturing is diverse and on the rise in the Garden State.