Fresh Start

From meal kits to snacks, Georgia-based food manufacturers have a recipe for success
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Georgia is home to more than half of the country’s top 100 food-processing companies, and it serves as headquarters for such familiar names as Coca-Cola, Mellow Mushroom, Church’s Chicken, Papa John’s, Cinnabon, HoneyBaked Ham, Chick-fil-A, and Waffle House, to name just a mouth-watering few.

Berlin-based HelloFresh, the largest meal-kit delivery company in the world, knew exactly what it was getting into when it decided to bring a meal-distribution facility to the state. And it couldn’t have worked out better.

“Since our launch in Georgia, HelloFresh U.S. revenue has increased by 50 percent,” says Uwe Voss, the CEO of HelloFresh’s American operations, “and our active customers have grown by nearly 40 percent—to nearly 3.5 million euros in the third quarter of 2021. We are extremely happy with all the support we have received since launching our center in Georgia. Everybody has been incredibly accommodating.”

When it announced in late 2020 that it was building out a more than 200,000-square-foot distribution center just off I-85 in Newnan, HelloFresh figured on offering up 750 jobs. A year later, more than 1,000 people were on board with the company, which can’t get people in the door and on the payroll quickly enough. Running at full capacity, 24/7, HelloFresh is now looking for ways to increase production, which would lead to more jobs in the state.

The pandemic had a lot to do with the company’s success, with more people than ever ordering its carefully curated cook-at-home meals. HelloFresh delivered more than 600 million meals worldwide in 2020, to the cash-register cha-ching of some 3.75 billion euros. Georgia’s strength in logistics, its ample workforce, and its business-friendly environment will help that bottom line and strengthen the state’s reputation as a food manufacturing powerhouse that, in addition to HelloFresh, includes Wrigley, Kraft, Hillshire Brands, and Chicken of the Sea. The single largest manufacturing facility for snack-making king Frito-Lay is in Perry. According to the state, jobs in food manufacturing in Georgia rose 232 percent in fiscal year 2021.

“Newnan is a great place for HelloFresh as we continue to expand our rapidly growing U.S. operations,” Voss says. 

“This new distribution center creates shorter delivery distances throughout the region and has allowed us to serve even more customers with fresh, delicious recipes delivered right to their doorsteps.” 

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