Today, we continue our Project Milwaukee Series: What’s On Our Plate? We’re exploring the impact the food industry has on the local economy. As we reported yesterday, more than 14,000 people in the greater Milwaukee area work for food and beverage manufacturers. But the number grows by thousands, when you include the workforce involved in building machinery for the food industry and moving its products, as well as making them more appealing. WUWM’s LaToya Dennis visited a few local employers that enhance Wisconsin’s food industry. When most people go to the grocery store, they probably don’t give much thought to all the work that goes into making the items on the shelves. I mean really, when was the last time you thought about what went into making your strawberry yogurt the perfect color? Well that’s what Dina Dicks does every day. She works for CHR Hanson in West Allis. The company makes coloring and other food additives. Dina and I met in one of the company lab.
We learn about the present and future of food manufacturing here in the Milwaukee area as part of our Project Milwaukee: What's on Our Plate? series. Shelley Jurewicz is Vice President of Economic Development for the Milwaukee 7. The organization has just issued a report on the Milwaukee region’s food and beverage manufacturing industry.
The Milwaukee-area company Northwestern Extract is playing a behind-the-scenes but also vital role in the flavor of Wisconsin beverages – as well as products made by companies around the country. Bill Peter is President of Northwestern Extract, the flavoring company his grandfather started in Milwaukee almost a hundred years ago. The company just left Brookfield and moved into a new facility in Germantown. We spoke with the company as part of our Project Milwaukee: What's on Our Plate? series.
As we're exploring in our series Project Milwaukee: What's on Our Plate?, Milwaukee’s food and beverage industries don’t just send products out to the world – foreign ingredients also make their way to our market through local companies, like Milwaukee-based Rishi Tea. Ben Harrison is the Co-owner and VP of Sales for Rishi Tea, Todd Wickstrom is the company's chief operating officer. They spoke with Bonnie North.