The Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton, MSA topped a recent national study of the top food processing locations in the Northeastern United States and ranked 10th overall in the country. Site selection firm Boyd Co. Inc., based in Princeton, New Jersey, examined 24 of the top food processing regions in the country as part of the comprehensive study.
Northeastern Pennsylvania consistently ranks at the top of the list for prime food processing locations because it combines several key attributes that each play a role in driving industry success. The Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton region has low operating costs including payroll, utilities, debt repayment and taxes that help lower a company’s annual cost to do business.
In addition to financial benefits, Northeast PA’s skilled and available labor force, and easy access to transportation routes leading to major East Coast cities, make it an attractive location for food processing companies.
John Augustine, President and CEO Penn’s Northeast, the region’s economic development agency, said efficient access to top markets gives Northeast PA a unique advantage. “Eighty percent of the nation’s buying power is within 500 miles of Northeast Pennsylvania. Companies can hit a massive amount of the country’s population within a day’s drive.”
John Boyd Jr., a principal with Boyd Co. Inc., said companies are attracted to cost-effective markets with access to quality resources.
Northeast PA has a strong connection to the food processing industry. According to data from the Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development at Wilkes University, the food processing business in the region has expanded 11.5 percent over the last six years. Luzerne and Lackawanna counties are home to more than 75 food manufacturing companies that employ more than 4,000 workers.
Several of these food processing companies have made Greater Hazleton their home. Some of these companies include Hershey Company, Tootsie Roll, Gonnella Baking Co., Cargill’s cocoa and chocolate facility and meat processing facility, Bimbo Bakeries USA and Citterio USA.
Located directly along the I-81 corridor in Northeast Pennsylvania and just minutes from I-80, Greater Hazleton offers an ideal location, just two hours to New York City and Philadelphia and within a day's drive of half the nation's population.