Target Sector - Food Industry

Eastern NC is the state’s leading area for agriculture, thus an excellent location to obtain raw materials for food processing and distribution facilities. This region is located midway along the East Coast, within a day’s drive of over half of the national consumer markets. Martin County is where honey roasted nuts were born!

Existing Industries

There are over 50 food industry producers in the region, including the following:

Flagstone Foods

North America’s largest producer of trail mixes and a leading provider of snack nuts, dried fruits, and other high growth, healthy snack products.

Cheesecake Factory –

Bakery manufacturing cheesecake products.


Poultry processing and rendering plant.

MBM Corporation –

Headquarters of major national food distributor to restaurants chains all over the US. They employ over 3400 people from approximately 30 facilities across the country.

Sara Lee –

Bakery that manufactures and markets branded packaged baked goods.

Mackey’s Ferry Peanuts –

Family-owned grower and manufacturer of peanut food products.

The food industry is an important sector for all of NC

Over 680 companies, employing more than 51,000 people.

Largest companies in the sector include:

Smithfield Foods, Tyson Farms, Perdue Products, Butterball, House of Raeford, Mountaire Farms, Pilgrim’s Pride

We have the farm products to support food production facilities.

Major Crops Include:

Peanuts, Broilers, Corn, Vegetables, Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Wheat, Cattle, Hay, Sweet potatoes, Hogs & pigs

NC Supports the Food Industry with Significant Resources

Northeast Marketing Center, Elizabeth City

The NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services offers marketing specialists to support local farm production. They provide assistance in locating buyers and suppliers, developing new markets, designing marketing strategies, and conducting marketing promotions to increase demands for regional commodities that include fruits, vegetables, seafood and other products. These efforts are in support of the “Goodness Grows in North Carolina” campaign that promotes food products grown in NC to national markets.

East Carolina Food Ventures Incubator Kitchen

A regional, shared-use commercial incubator kitchen designed to help develop food entrepreneurs, create new food businesses, grow existing food businesses, and provide workforce development.

NC Community College system

Culinary Arts curriculum in several of the 58 colleges throughout NC

NC State University – Dept. of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences

Food Science Extension provides support to industries in the beverage, dairy, meat, produce and seafood processing arenas. Services include assistance with food processing, food safety & quality, regu-latory compliance issues, environmental issues and help for startup, small business companies and entrepreneurs. Also has seven pilot plants that support teaching and R&D activities for the Food Industry.

East Carolina University

  • Food and Beverage Concentration in Hospitality Management, College of Human Ecology
  • Bioprocess Engineering Concentration, College of Technology and Computer Science

High schools

Public schools all over NC have food science classes.

Martin County Economic Development Corporation
415 East Blvd #130, Williamston, NC 27892