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Mid-Willamette Economic Development Team Hits California to Grow Food Processing Industry Back Home

Thursday, April 2, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Elizabeth Peters
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Officials from SEDCOR, Business Oregon, the Oregon Department of Agriculture, local economic development partners and existing Oregon food companies headed to the 35th annual Natural Products Expo West in March to attract food processors to Oregon and promote existing Oregon companies and goods.

Traveling as Team Oregon Food Processing, the group set up an Oregon booth and met with companies that attended. It was at this show that the team first met Chaucer Foods, a company who later chose Oregon to open a new freeze-dry manufacturing facility, bringing with them 73 jobs.

Team Oregon also hosted a reception where multiple connections were made among the attendees.  More than 200 attended the reception, including international buyers.

“Growing value-added food products is an essential part of [Oregon’s] economic strategy because it lifts both rural and urban economies,” said Sean Robbins, Business Oregon’s director.

More than 80 Oregon firms exhibited at the show. Those from the Mid-Willamette Valley included:

  • Betty Lou’s Inc., McMinnville
  • Dundee Fruit Company, Dundee
  • Kettle Foods, Inc., Salem
  • Mt. Angel Vitamin Company, Mt. Angel
  • Nature Fresh Farms, Aurora
  • Oregon Cherry Growers, Salem
  • Truitt Bros., Inc., Salem
  • Truitt Family Foods, Inc., Salem

Natural Products Expo West is the world’s largest event devoted to natural and specialty foods and beverages, organics, supplements, health and beauty, natural living and pet products. Show analysts identified five trends influencing the marketplace:

  • Transparency: Consumers increasingly demand to know what is in their food. Brands are responding by using technology and other innovations to provide greater transparency and traceability for their products.
  • Ancient Wisdom: Brands continue to innovate by producing simple, delicious products that take minimally processing to new levels and contain short lists of nutrient-dense ingredients.
  • Paleo 2.0: The newest Paleo offerings are popping up in every product category, from English muffins to chocolate.
  • Packaging Innovated: From edible cups to packages featuring famous cookbook authors, the packaging innovations made advancements in sustainability, consumer education and shelf stability.
  • Protein Invasion: Responding to consumers’ insatiable hunger for protein, natural and organic brands are packing new offerings with protein in every conceivable form.

After the event, organizers boasted that the 2015 Natural Products Expo West had 2,700 exhibitors and 71,000 attendees.

 


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