Sonoma County BEST’s Food Industry Group is a group of natural and specialty food manufacturers in the North Bay who collaborate on industry issues and leverage the knowledge of the group as a whole to overcome problems.

According to data from Sonoma State University professor Dr. Robert Eyler’s Economic Forensics and Analysis Study of Food Manufacturing, the total economic impact of food producers in the North Bay (not including wine, beer or restaurants) is $4.07 billion annually. The industry employs more than 6,000 workers and supports more than 15,000 jobs. Over 350 food manufacturers reside within the North Bay and over half call Sonoma County their home.

The Sonoma County Food Industry Group (FIG) was formed in 2013 as a result of the efforts of Sonoma County BEST to help companies of all sizes within this booming industry.  The FIG consists of local food companies that come together to discuss industry-wide issues and utilize collaboration, combined experiences, best practices and resource sharing to help overcome these issues and add value to Sonoma County food companies.

The FIG meets quarterly, but also has four monthly subcommittees that focus on particular needs within the food industry: Human Resources, Marketing, Quality Assurance, and Growth (support for small to medium-sized food companies in a growth phase).

Is the FIG right for your company?

  • The FIG is for food and beverage producers of all sizes – from the single person startup to a multi-million dollar manufacturer.
  • The FIG does not generally include food service.
  • The FIG is not just a networking group, it is a way for individuals in the food industry to learn from one another, collaborate, and contribute toward building a stronger food industry. Relationships will be built organically throughout one’s participation of different events and meetings.
  • Currently there is no cost to be a member of the FIG.
  • Though the FIG centers its efforts in Sonoma County, other food producers from around the North Bay are welcome to participate, learn from, and contribute to the group.
  • The FIG Subcommittees allow those form food companies to learn from their peers. For example, the HR Subcommittee is filled with company representatives within the HR field.  The meetings focus on hiring, training, onboarding, and improving the skills of the meeting participants.