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Oregon’s Economic Development Team Hits California to Grow Food Processing Industry Back Home

Officials from Business Oregon, the Oregon Department of Agriculture, local economic development partners and existing Oregon food companies are headed to the 35th annual Natural Products Expo West in March (5-7) in hopes to not only attract food processors to Oregon, but to promote existing Oregon companies and goods.

Traveling as Team Oregon Food Processing, the group will set up an Oregon booth and representatives will work the event, meeting with companies that attend. It was at this show that the team first met Chaucer Foods, a company who later chose Oregon to open a new freeze-dry manufacturing facility, bringing with them 73 jobs.

“Oregon is recognized around the globe for the quality of its food,” said Sean Robbins, Business Oregon’s director. “Growing value-added food products is an essential part of the state’s economic strategy because it lifts both rural and urban economies.” 

Joining the team are six small food processors from across the state to exhibit in the Oregon booth. These companies will be able to sample and display their products, set up appointments with buyers and make industry contacts to expand their businesses. 

The six companies are:

  • Pudding River Chocolates, Canby, Creates irresistibly unique, homemade confections.
  • Julie’s Originals, Portland, Produces gluten-free baking mixes that are amazingly delicious and super easy to make.
  • OilEx Tech, Corvallis, Distills high quality essential oil safely in just 6 minutes.
  • NuCulture Foods, The Dalles, Makes crazy-good plant-based cheeses.
  • Masala Pop, Portland, Makes handcrafted Indian-spiced popcorn products.
  • Nature Fresh Farms, Aurora, Grows hull-less pumpkin seeds. 

These businesses will be in good company with more than 84 other Oregon firms exhibiting at the show.  Natural Products Expo West is the world's largest event devoted to natural and specialty foods and beverages, organics, supplements, health and beauty, natural living and pet products. The show boasts more than 2,600 exhibitors and expects to attract over 60,000 attendees, including manufacturers and buyers. 

The team traveling to the show will include:

  • Sarah Case, Lane County Community and Economic Development
  • Jody Christensen, McMinnville Economic Development Partnership
  • Jill Miles, Sean Stevens and Alexa Hamilton, Business Oregon
  • Nick Harville, Strategic Economic Development Corporation (SEDCOR)
  • Melissa Hunting, Portland General Electric
  • Amanda Welker, Oregon Department of Agriculture
  • Cindy Hagen and Catherine Comer, Clackamas County Economic Development
  • Sarah Masoni, Food Innovation Center, Oregon State University
  • Erik Andersson, Pacific Power
  • George Cress, City of Forest Grove
  • Kit Kamo, Snake River Economic Development Corporation
  • Greg Smith, Malheur County Economic Development 

Follow the Team on the trip at:

Facebook: BusinessOregon
Twitter: @BusinessOregon
Twitter: @itsfromOregon