Food manufacturing accounts for 14 percent of all U.S. manufacturing employees
In 2011, the U.S. food and beverage manufacturing sector employed about 1.5 million people, or about 14 percent of all U.S. manufacturing employees, and just over 1 percent of all U.S. nonfarm employment. In almost 30,000 food manufacturing plants (as of 2007) located throughout the country, these 1.5 million workers were engaged in transforming raw agricultural materials into products for intermediate or final consumption. Some products become ingredients for other food products, such as syrup used to make soft drinks. Meat and poultry plants employed the largest percentage of food and beverage manufacturing workers (32 percent), followed by bakeries (17 percent), and fruit and vegetable processing plants (11 percent). This chart appears in the Processing & Marketing topic page on the ERS website, updated February 2013.