The Upstate has been receiving some well-earned attention for its culinary scene, with the bevy of young chefs, food-truck operators, pop-up culinary artists and others flocking to the area to explore their talents.
But just as significant to its reputation as a food hub is the contribution of the Upstate’s many food manufacturers.
South Carolina in particular has some advantages over other nearby states, ranking 2nd lowest in industrial power costs on the East Coast, according to Upstate SC Alliance — which is a big deal for large scale manufacturing facilities when it comes to lowering overhead. That’s one reason why 225 companies in the food industry call Upstate South Carolina homing, serving the 7 million people who reside within 100 miles of the Upstate and beyond.
From well-known names that have long held a historical presence, to more obscure and new companies, here are some of the producers who have set up shop in the Upstate.
775 Woodruff Road, Greenville
Founded in 2015 by chef Steven Reid
Specializes in pimento cheese
Reid started the company after years in the restaurant industry, starting with an old pimento cheese recipe from his grandmother.
“The name ‘Humble Roots’ is a tribute to all my friends and family who supported me along the way,” Reid wrote on the company’s website. “To my grandmother who taught me the way around a kitchen and her magical pimento cheese recipes.”
211 Pine Road, Easley
Founded in 1917 by Eugenia Duke
Eugenia Duke began selling her sandwiches, which included mayonnaise made from a family recipe, during World War I to soldiers training at Camp Sevier, right outside Greenville. She launched the successful business before women in the United States even had the right to vote.
562 Gilliam Road, Greer
Founded in 1958
Specializes in packaging and processing dried beans and peas
Hayes Food Products holds the unique honor of being one of just a few SQF Level 2 Certified bean processors in the country, ensuring a high level of food safety. The privately-owned company cleans, processes and packages dried beans for the South, East and Midwest from its processing plant in the Upstate.
640 S. Main St., Greenville
Found in 2017 by Vincent Cardonna
Specializes in farm-to-table hemp- and CBD-infused chocolate products
The company does not make “weed edibles,” as Cardonna is quick to point out, but it does utilize the cannabidiol properties of South Carolina hemp — the “non-high-inducing” component of the plant — fused with South American-sourced chocolate, created by the pastry chef behind the Greenville-based bakery Le Petit Croissant.
600 S. Florida Ave., Greenville
Founded in 2013
Specializes n waffles and pancakes
The company produces up to 20,000 waffles and 23,000 pancakes per hour — although if you want gluten-free waffles, production dips to 16,000 waffles per hour. The company creates pancakes used for a national breakfast sandwich brand and is in the process of producing its own breakfast sandwiches.
“We mainly are a manufacturer for a lot of national brands,” CEO John Symons told the Greenville Journal last year. “When you go into any retailers, [whether] it be a discount retailers, any kind of retailers that sell frozen goods, you’re going to see products in there that we produce.”
218 Commerce Road, Greenville
Founded in 1989
Specializes in food service and distribution for restaurants
The company currently has nearly 28,000 employees spread across more than 70 locations, including the location here in the Upstate. Serving roughly 300,000 restaurants and food service operators, the company brings in about $24 billion in annual revenue. It offers not just food but also e-commerce services, restaurant technology like point-of-sale systems and online ordering platforms, menu and website design, agricultural reports and more.
728 N. Main St., Mauldin
Founded in 1887
Specializes in spices for condiments and seasoning blends
The company formerly known as The CF Sauer Company was purchased by Charlotte-based private equity firm Falfurrias Capital Parters in 2019, after which the company changed its name to Sauer’s. Well known for being the producer of Duke’s Real mayonnaise, the company was family-owned for 132 years before its acquisition.
1916 Piedmont Highway
Founded in 1979
Specializes in desserts and baked goods
The company has been producing its made-from-scratch and locally sourced ingredients since founder Sandy Solmon started baking American cookies in a 2-bay garage in Reading, Pennsylvania, at the tail end of the 1970s. Sweet Street now operates a cafe, Cafe Sweet Street, in Reading and its Mobile Art Kitchen, a food truck serving American cuisine through the streets of Paris, France.