Pratt Center Research

Growing a More Equitable Economy

Food + Workforce: Connecting Growth and Good Jobs for NYC‘s Emerging Specialty Food Manufacturing Sector

Report  |  April 22, 2015

New York City has always been known for its varied and innovative food culture. In recent years, a growing, eclectic mix of artisanal food and beverage manufacturers is further enhancing this reputation by incubating businesses based on new products ranging from cocktail mixers to vegan cupcakes to handmade salsas. New and exciting brands regularly fill the shelves of local specialty stores, and events celebrating local foods and food cultures abound. Between 2009 and 2013, 1,294 food and beverage manufacturers opened for business in the five boroughs. Many of these companies are now approaching the 3 to 5 year age range, a critical time for business growth and expansion. They face numerous challenges as they look to mature and scale up their food manufacturing ventures.

This study, commissioned by  Evergreen Exchange (formerly EWVIDCO), a membership organization that champions manufacturing, creative production, and industrial service businesses in North Brooklyn and beyond, seeks to understand the specific workforce opportunities created by the growing specialty food and beverage manufacturing sectors and identifies strategies to ensure these businesses can remain and thrive in New York City.

The two key strategic priorities recommended by the study include: .

  • Promoting a diverse workforce by forging relationships with workforce providers and food and beverage manufacturers
  • Establishing policies and programs to help these companies grow here in New York City, so that they can scale up and provide quality employment in the diverse neighborhoods where New Yorkers live.

For more information on this report, please contact Leah Archibald, Executive Director of Evergreen Exchange, at