Food Processing

Georgia’s Top Manufacturing Sector

Why Macon for Food Processing?

Macon is an ideal home for food processing -- it's the state's leading manufacturing sector in terms of employment and gross state product. With more than 41,400 farms producing a variety of food commodities, Georgia's processors capitalize on an abundance of raw materials. Macon is home to a highly-skilled, affordable workforce and world-class technological resources geared toward promoting the success of the food processing industry.

Georgia's food processing ecosystem is well established, with a thriving agricultural industry, diverse blend of manufacturers, a strong system of distributors, and a transportation infrastructure second to none.

Macon's Advantages

  • First-rate transportation infrastructure with strategic location at the heart of Georgia at intersections of I-75, I-475, I-16
  • Norfolk Southern Railroad’s largest switching yard in the Southeast Georgia Central railroad
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport within 1 ½ hours
  • Georgia’s nationally recognized Quick Start training program
  • 26-county draw area of over 433,000 people
  • 8 area colleges, universities, and technical colleges with more than 50,000 students


Deep water ports within five hours


Commercial markets within 2-day shipping


Interstate exits


Miles of rail throughout Georgia


Star Snacks

Star Snacks, a manufacturer and distributor of high-quality nuts and dried fruits, invested more than $18 million in a new 200,000 sqft facility in Macon-Bibb County. The facility is situated on the Ocmulgee East Industrial Park and brings 115 new jobs in manufacturing and processing.

Georgia’s competitive business climate and large talent pool are ideal for manufacturers

Competitive wage rates, an abundance of skilled workers and a business-friendly environment make Macon an ideal place for manufacturing. Georgia’s wages for manufacturing occupations related to food processing are typically lower than those of the U.S. overall. Georgia is highly competitive within the Southeast as well, with an advantage over surrounding states based on the concentration of food processing workers and low wages. Additionally, Georgia’s employment-at-will, right-to-work status, and low unionization rates help the state’s food processing operations remain at the forefront of increasingly global markets.

  • A unionization rate of 6.5% compared to 12.1% nationally (% covered employees)
  • The largest number of food and beverage processing jobs in the Southeast (74k industry workers)
  • A low state corporate tax rate of 5.75%

Based on staffing patterns for food and beverage processing industries, Georgia has an abundance of workers employed in critical occupations, including laborers and freight workers, production operators, inspectors, and slaughterers and meat packers.

Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority

“Expanding Macon-Bibb’s footprint in the agribusiness field is a testament to our great location, business-friendly environment, and ability to attract more new industry,”


Relevant Workforce

Georgia is known for its high-quality workforce. With a potential of 434,000 workers in occupations related to Food Processing, Georgia offers an ample supply of skilled employees with a variety of technical backgrounds.

Bibb County

In Bibb County, there are 6,151 workers in the relevant occupations. By 2026, that number is expected to be 6,203 workers, a 0.8% change.

The table below shows the number of jobs for each occupation for the Food Processing industry. The occupations shown are those with skillsets most relevant to and sought after by employers in the industry.

Bakers $26,683 65 67 3 4.4%
Butchers and Meat Cutters $34,604 84 83 -1 -0.7%
First-Line Supervisors of Production and Operating Workers $58,555 395 405 11 2.7%
Food and Tobacco Roasting, Baking, and Drying Machine Operators and Tenders $41,226 0 1 1 23,846.9%
Food Batchmakers $35,638 31 33 2 4.9%
Food Cooking Machine Operators and Tenders $17,357 19 18 -1 -3.7%
Food Processing Workers, All Other $23,838 3 4 1 27.4%
Helpers--Production Workers $24,811 70 76 6 8.7%
Industrial Machinery Mechanics $52,203 335 369 34 10.2%
Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers, and Weighers $35,825 241 228 -12 -5.1%
Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand $29,974 1,805 1,822 18 1.0%
Maintenance and Repair Workers, General $36,003 958 980 22 2.3%
Meat, Poultry, and Fish Cutters and Trimmers $18,337 33 32 -2 -5.3%
Miscellaneous Assemblers and Fabricators $31,423 371 342 -30 -8.0%
Packaging and Filling Machine Operators and Tenders $28,700 136 143 7 5.0%
Packers and Packagers, Hand $22,487 258 246 -12 -4.7%
Slaughterers and Meat Packers $25,260 2 2 -0 -13.1%
Stockers and Order Fillers $25,014 1,345 1,350 5 0.4%

Georgia’s workforce training programs are world-class

Having a trained and efficient workforce is paramount in maintaining a competitive position in the marketplace. Georgia’s extensive network of technical colleges and the state’s highly touted Quick Start program help ensure that food processing operations have the level of workers needed to be successful.

Georgia Quick Start: Georgia’s internationally recognized skills-based training program that provides job-specific training at no cost for qualified new and expanding companies. Food processors in Macon can rely on Quick Start’s broad experience in food manufacturing technologies.

Georgia was ranked number 1 in the U.S. for “Workforce Development Programs” for the 8th year in a row by Area Development Magazine in 2021.

Macon has the “Best-Tasting Drinking Water in North America”

Macon offers abundant, high quality water and sewer capacity and award winning treatment plants. In fact, our reservoir has a water capacity of 60,000,000 gallons/day and sewer capacity of 48,000,000 gallons/day.

The American Water Works Association selected the Macon Water Authority as the 2009 “Best of the Best” taste test winner meaning that Macon also offers America’s best tasting water.

The value of MWA water and sewer services is evident, not solely in the numerous industry awards for system, facility, and individual excellence and performance. Value also comes when these quality services are offered at competitive and affordable prices.


Food & Beverage Processing Businesses
(Ga Dept of Labor 2020 Annual)


New Jobs (2017-2021)
(Georgia Power C&ED)


Good & Beverage Industry GSP
(EMSI, 2021)