Food Processing Operations

Food processing often emerges in our Food System Assessments and Feasibility Studies as a critical gap. Institutional buyers might have limited ability to wash and cut vegetables, so they need to purchase their goods cut and ready to cook. Local food is available and most cost effective during the few months of the year that schools – prime buyers of local produce – are out of session. There may be a strong interest among ranchers in expanding their production but lack of USDA slaughter and/or meat processing capabilities is holding them back.

In addition to helping better connect local food with local buyers, food processing can serve many other economic development related goals. These types of businesses can sometimes be located in abandoned facilities. They also often generate a myriad of jobs for the community. Depending on their scale, they can bring tax revenue to the region.

New Venture Advisors helps clients determine if food processing is needed within their local food landscape, and if so, what type of food processing should be offered. We then work with them to develop the right business model and scale of the enterprise. We have experience in fresh cut processing, IQF / frozen processing, grains processing, cheese manufacturing, and meat processing.

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New Venture Advisors is a team of business consultants specializing in local food system planning and new enterprise development.

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Food Processing Projects


Damian’s Craft Meats Feasibility Study

Ann Arbor, MI

For six years, Damian’s Craft Meats has been exploring the viability of developing a slaughterhouse and meat processing business that reflects the founders’ deep connection to and understanding of where good food comes from, and their respect for living animals. Moreover, and especially due to the disruption of the meat industry caused by the pandemic, they see an opportunity to reverse patterns of inequality, consolidation, and disinvestment in order to advance an equitable food system and expand the local meat value chain in southeast Michigan. NVA conducted a comprehensive feasibility study of the market, business model and facility plan and developed a business plan for their facility development project. The purpose of this project is to bolster the growth of the region’s meat sector through community collaboration and planning to better support the processing, aggregation, storage, and distribution of locally and regionally produced meat products. (2021)

The Good Food Collective Social Enterprise Launch

Durango, CO

Fruit for Good is a new social enterprise of The Good Food Collective. It dehydrates gleaned fruit from area farms, sells it to regional retail and wholesale customers, and donates it to food banks and pantries. New Venture Advisors coached the organization to conduct a market study to refine the value proposition for customers, put plans on paper that define the operating model and staffing plan, project the financial resources required, and build a roadmap with milestones through the pilot and full launch. (2021)

Detroit Eastern Market Corporation

Detroit, MI

Eastern Market Corporation is a nonprofit organization that manages Detroit’s historic Eastern Market and plays a critical role in fostering local food system development and healthy food access via a number of innovative initiatives. New Venture Advisors worked with EMC to develop a business plan for a local individually quick frozen (IQF) processing facility that would provide a new sales channel for regional growers, and increase access to local produce year-round for Detroit area institutions. (2016)

Floyd Food Company

Floyd, VA

SustainFloyd is a nonprofit organization in rural Virginia that develops new ideas to support the next generation of Blue Ridge Plateau’s rural community while preserving its resources, traditions and heritage. New Venture Advisors worked with SustainFloyd to develop a business plan for a value-added agricultural center to process and market locally-produced fruits, vegetables and dairy products. The business launched in 2014 as the Floyd Food Company, beginning with a line of frozen soups. (2013)

Headwater Food Hub

Ontario, NY

Headwater Foods, Inc. is a thriving food hub in upstate New York with a wholesale business line and a CSA service. New Venture Advisors worked with Headwater on a market assessment to quantify institutional demand for fresh cut produce, in support of the hub’s plans for a new processing business line. (2015)

 Whatcom Local Food Campus

The Whatcom Community Foundation invests in activities and organizations that improve the ability of people to help themselves, increase connections among people, and take cooperative approaches to community issues. WCF is exploring the development of a local food campus on a waterfront property that would become a multi-tenant site, anchored by a school district commissary. The goal is to strengthen Whatcom County’s local food system by promoting health equity, forging tangible strategic connections between food production organizations, and helping farmers connect with institutional markets. NVA developed the business case for this ambitious project and continues to support its development. (2021)