blog post written by Lacy Wise

As many come together this holiday season, now is the time to show our gratitude towards the front-line manufacturing workforce. Over 6400 manufacturing companies are in the seven Southwest Ohio counties (Hamilton, Clermont, Butler, Warren, Brown, Clinton, and Adams), serving various markets and components of the supply chain. The men and women that are employed by or own these manufacturing facilities consistently show up and should take credit for making many things a reality, including your Thanksgiving meal.

Traditional Thanksgiving feasts consist of several staples: turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, casseroles, stuffing, and confections. Many companies across the state, the country, and the world act simultaneously to produce these meals for your dinner table, completing the supply chain puzzle.

Communities aren’t witness to the critical efforts executed by the advanced manufacturing workforce or briefed about their day-to-day processes that generate the goodies individuals indulge in during this holiday.

According to the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, Americans eat about 46 million turkeys on Thanksgiving. What does this mean for manufacturers? It means that manufacturers are forecasting the amount of products it should produce, so consumer demands are met. According to the National Turkey Federation, turkey consumption has increased by more than 110% since 1970. Farmers, or other producers of food, must adhere to USDA regulations and quality expectations to provide their products for retail. For example, Turkey farmers are restricted from using hormones to increase the size of the birds.

According to USDA, 5.7 billion pounds of turkey meat was produced in the United States in 2020. To accomplish this feat, more than 440,739 individuals are employed in this industry with direct wages estimated around $24.1 billion. The top turkey producing states are: Minnesota, North Carolina, Arkansas, Indiana, Missouri, Virginia, Iowa and California; and many turkey farms are based in rural communities.

To localize this perspective, Bob Evans Foods in Xenia, OH (owned by Post Holdings, Inc.) harvests around 120,000 pounds of boneless meat (pork) among 40 employees over the course of 10-hour scheduled production day. Bob Evans Farms has a network of farms around the country to provide the full-array of refrigerated consumer products. Though pork is often more dense and heavier than turkey, just to complete the first manufacturing process, harvesting 5.7 billion pounds in pork would take roughly 475 hours or 47.5 working days.

The Meat (and potatoes) of it All

regional Food Supply chain contributors

Mt. Healthy Hatcheries is a 3rd generation family-owned business in Cincinnati, produces over 3 million chicks, ducks, turkeys, and game birds annually. Since it’s humble beginnings, this company has hatched and sold millions of chicks, which are raised by many farms throughout the nation.

Courtesy: Mt. Healthy Hatcheries

A common consumer brand of Ham and other deli products, Hormel Foods®, employs 20,000 worldwide. This Fortune 500 company’s corporate office is in Northeast Cincinnati near Sharonville, and produces frozen food products at its facility in Dayton.

B&G Foods, Inc. isn’t recognizable for many consumers. This food conglomerate is behind more than 50 brands including Green Giant®, Dash®, and Crisco®. Bloch & Guggenheimer and the B&G brand were founded in 1889 by the Bloch and Guggenheimer families, immigrants who came to America. The B&G brand was founded in 1996 but has grown expontentially through 24 acquisitions. One of it’s many manufacturing plants, located in Cincinnati, packs and processes Crisco prior to distribution to retail locations.

For 150 years, Kraft Heinz® has produced some of the world’s most beloved products. Its portfolio features a diverse mix of iconic and emerging brands. It is co-headquartered in Chicago, IL and Pittsburgh, PA, but has a thriving production facility in Cincinnati. While Kraft Mac and Cheese® brands might not be on your menu this holiday, if you upgrade to Velveeta® you’ll still be consuming a Kraft-Heinz product.

Kroger is a top grocery retailer in our area, as it’s headquartered the Queen City, yet it has streamlined a supply chain across the country to make sure the Kroger Co. Family of Stores can offer all thankgiving staples and other groceries. The chain is most known to consumers for its retail chain, yet its mission to supply customers with quality products at an exceptional value includes the Kroger-brand private labeled product offerings. The company is also pioneering robotic fulfillment warehouses, including one in Warren County.

Top-Knotch Tableware

regional manufacturers and/or distributors of tableware

While you narrow down your options for Thanksgiving, it’s probably a good idea to figure out what kind of place settings or dishes you want to use when serving this extravagant meal.

Huhtamaki is a world leader in food packaging and supplies. Employing over 4,000 employees globally, it has multiple facilities across Ohio: Franklin, Batavia and New Vienna. Headquartered in Finland, Ohioans are employed to produce paper and plastic disposable tableware, such as cups, plates and containers. This company is credited for their Chinet® brand of plates, disposable napkins, tablecovers and more in Batavia, OH. 

Meantime, Hubert Company LLC has a unique history and is headquartered in Harrison, OH and creates an array of kitchen necessities including glasses, covered dishes, ramekins, bowls, ovenware, serving platters, dinner plates, silverware and more. Glassware and tableware products made by this company include notable private-label brands: Anchor Hocking, Excalibur, Finedge, Gibraltar, Libbey, Cantina, Carlisle, Hubert, and Montego Bay. The company provides their products to a plethora of partners.

A Recipe for Success: Cookware & Bakeware

regional manufacturers and/or distributors of cookware & bakeware

Lewark Metal Spinning, Inc. manufacturers metal spun products including bakeware, tank bottoms & heads, cookware, can & case covers made of carbon & stainless steel, aluminum, Inconel®, Hastelloy®, brass, copper, titanium & precious metals. Ceramic, stainless steel, or on-stick pots and pan varieties are all crafted through various manufacturing processes to essentially mold and stamp the metal into shape. This Dayton manufacturer, in business since 1993, has also capabilities to serve numerous industries from cookware to aerospace. 

Manufacturers Innovating to Attract Employees

For the past several months, the media has been sharing details of a general labor shortage in the United States. Most manufacturers have been understaffed in their factories for even longer. Current events have transformed what before 2020 was merely a typical challenge for manufacturers seeking to hire enough people, into a dilemma that for many is mission critical.

AMIP is proud to partner with manufacturers in the Cincinnati region to grow the workforce pipeline of qualified candidates. As expected, manufacturers are acknowledging this business AMIP is proud to partner with manufacturers in the Cincinnati region to grow the advanced manufacturing pipeline and advocate for manufacturing careers. As expected, manufacturers are addressing this business challenge with clarity and creativity, despite producing mass volumes with significantly smaller labor resources.

This Thanksgiving, whether you’re enjoying a turkey feast, trying a different tradition, or connecting virtually with your loved ones, AMIP hopes you’ll thank the modern manufacturing workforce making it all possible.

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