Much like grandma’s famous lasagna, the right location for food processors and distributors comes down to the ingredients.
Only, in this case, it has less to do with meat sauce and mushrooms—and everything to do with transportation channels, water access, local industry expertise, and other key factors.
Located in Illinois—the #1 state for food processing, with more than $180B in annual sales—DuPage County offers a strategic location just west of Chicago, with a rich history of food science and production. Here, food producers have everything they need to grow their business, develop innovative foods, and quickly and efficiently get their products to any market.
Today, DuPage is home to many of the world’s leading food businesses, from the innovation labs of Greenleaf Foods to the “Lasagna Headquarters” of Rana Meal Solutions, as well as Pepperidge Farm, Campbell Soup, Nestle, Ferrara Candy Co., Hormel Foods, and many others (scroll down for a list of top food industry businesses in DuPage).
Today, many of these DuPage businesses are expanding their operations—even amid in the pandemic.
Greenleaf Foods, SPC, producer of some of the world’s most delicious and nutritious plant-based protein—including the #1 meatless hot dog in the U.S.—recently expanded their DuPage facility. Earlier this year, the company signed a long-term lease in Lisle (DuPage) for a new 23,000-SF innovation center. The center features a test kitchen, laboratory and pilot plant. Greenleaf recently took a leading market position in the refrigerated, plant-based protein category, and their Lisle expansion is part of a greater strategy to grow their operations and continue diversifying their portfolio.
“Our innovation center in Lisle will be an essential hub for collaboration and ideation that helps us drive and sustain business growth,” says Dan Curtin, President of Greenleaf Foods. “Plus, it’s centrally located near our corporate office and Chicago’s O’Hare airport, making it convenient for our customers and associates to visit.”
And Greenleaf is far from the only food business upgrading their operations in DuPage. Rana Meal Solutions, a leading producer of pasta in Europe and, more recently, the U.S., has expanded their facility in the Brewster Creek Business Park of Bartlett (DuPage). Much of Rana’s fresh lasagna is now produced in the new 326,000-SF building, which has earned the nickname “Lasagna Headquarters.”
DuPage County: Benefits for the Food Industry
- The Institute for Food Safety and Health (IFSH). Located just outside DuPage in Bedford Park, the IFSH is a one-of-a-kind applied food science research consortium comprised of the Illinois Institute of Technology, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and leaders of the food industry. In collaboration with the FDA, the IFSH provides stakeholders with the opportunity to develop and exchange knowledge, experience and expertise in the areas of food safety, defense, processing and nutrition.
- Unrivaled industry expertise. Illinois is home to more than 72,000 farms, covering nearly 76% of its total land area. Illinois farms are top producers of corn, soybeans, livestock and dairy. The state also boasts more patents in food-related industries than any other state—in fact, it has more patents than many countries do.
- Ample access to water. Water is essential for the manufacturing and transportation of food, and DuPage offers more than 100 miles of navigable waterways. The region’s water is supplied by Illinois’ Lake Michigan Water Division. In addition, DuPage County owns and operates six water systems to service customers.
- A strategic location for production and distribution. Just 25 miles west of Chicago, DuPage is at the heart of an international, multimodal freight gateway, offering: North America’s largest inland port, three nearby international airports (O’Hare, Midway and the DuPage Airport), one of the nation’s busiest rail gateways, seven major interstates and some 30,000 miles of highways. As we saw earlier this year, when numerous flights were canceled that would otherwise transport cargo, having access to multiple transportation modes is essential—especially in times of crisis.
Additional DuPage County Benefits
- DuPage is home to 127 square miles of prime real estate that will soon offer direct access to O’Hare through the region’s Western Access initiative.
- Local businesses benefit from a business-friendly climate with low commercial property taxes and a highly skilled and educated workforce.
- Our residents enjoy a high quality of life, with easy commutes, excellent schools, numerous recreational amenities and more space for work and life.
- DuPage County’s highly desirable commercial properties offer space for large industrial facilities and flexible leases.
Top Food Industry Employers in DuPage:
- Greco & Sons
- Get Fresh
- Rana Meal Solutions
- Cheese Merchants of America
- Treehouse Foods
- Hearthside Food Solutions
- Wilton Brands
- Harvest Food Group
- Pepperidge Farm
- Nonni’s Foods
- Campbell Soup
- Hormel Foods
- Armour-Eckrich Meats
- Otto & Sons
- Bay Valley Foods LLC
- Tyson Foods
- Sara Lee Frozen Bakery
- McCain Foods
- Amalgamated Sugar Co.
Hungry for more? Get the facts about the Food Processing & Distribution industry in DuPage County, IL.