When choosing the ideal site to expand or relocate a food plant, the decision should always tie back to how the location will help the business thrive.
Food manufacturers often focus on access to a qualified workforce, quality of life, and food safety concerns when considering relocation. These are all valid concerns for site selection; however, other pertinent factors are often overlooked — namely, access to resources.
Proximity to major city centers, transportation, and strong labor are all critical in the site-selection process, but if the area is resource-stressed, it can be harmful to the food plant in the long term.
Consider Texas, where job growth is not the only thing booming. Texas added 34,700 new jobs to the pipeline in May alone, and its unemployment rate is holding steady at near-record lows of 4.1 percent. Moreover, the Lone Star State’s energy sector continues to attract multi-billion dollar investments across a range of industries including food manufacturing.
Businesses are flocking to the state to take advantage of its less stringent governmental red tape and low-cost business climate, allowing them to get their goods to market more quickly.
Last year, Texas was once again the No. 1 exporting state in the nation. Texas exports for 2017 totaled $264.1 billion, making up 17.7 percent of total U.S. exports. These top exports included:
- Petroleum oils
- Liquified propane
- Computer parts and accessories
- Aircraft engines and parts
- Integrated circuits
- Modems and transmission devices
- Machinery for making semiconductors
Aside from location benefits and positive market status, Texas also offers ample resources to businesses that are looking to move or grow. The state’s access to power and robust energy options can help food plants improve their bottom line. Let’s explore a snapshot of the resources this booming state has to offer:
Water & Utility Access
There are many factors to consider when it comes to water and utility access. Is there enough? How much does it cost? What is the reliability history of this particular location?
Local resources to support energy efficiency, sanitation, automation, and regulatory requirements to help drive food manufacturer success. It is essential for businesses to consider locations that offer access to clean and consistent water to help meet the facility’s growing needs.
While Texas has been through droughts in the past, it has enough underground water to supply the state for over a hundred years. The biggest consideration is that the water requires desalination to be usable, and while desalination is expensive, its importance in providing access to steady water supply has led to the state’s willingness to invest in desalination efforts. Texas’ total municipal desalination capacity is about 142 million gallons per day. These efforts reveal how Texas works actively to produce clean, usable water before a drought ever occurs.
As the world struggles with the limits of coal and gas to create energy, being mindful of energy production is essential when evaluating a manufacturing site.
Texas was the leading oil-producing state in 2016, producing more than one-third of the country’s crude oil. Texas also accounted for more than one-fourth of the nation’s marketed natural gas production that same year, making it the leading natural gas producer in the U.S.
Ironically, however, states with large production of certain types of energy also consume large amounts of energy to produce and distribute the energy they have. This cyclical system is unsustainable and harmful to long-term energy outcomes.The key is to have an energy capacity with strong production that can be sustained by the grid and match consumption needs. Texas is unique when it comes to energy capacity and distribution, as it is the only state with its own electrical grid. Regulated by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the grid controls the flow of energy from the multiple electricity generators for transmission. The independent nature of ERCOT and the deregulation of the energy market from the state has allowed Texas to adapt with energy alternatives and improve transmission efficiencies.
The Lone Star State also benefits from being the state with the largest alternative energy capacity and production. Texas has a wind energy capacity greater than any other state with more than 21,450 megawatts.
Why Texas' Infrastructure Is Ideal for Food Manufacturers
When evaluating a site, it is essential to not only consider current resources, but the location’s plan for future resources as technology advances and shapes the future. Texas’s abundance of land and resources offers the ideal infrastructure for food manufacturers seeking to expand or relocate. For more information on the benefits of doing business in Texas, visit midlothian-tx.org.