Governor Larry Hogan’s trip to Japan last summer has netted a tangible result with the opening of Japanese manufacturer United Foods International plant in Harford County. United Foods products include a variety of custom Asian sauces, soups, packets of soy sauce, tempura batter and Korean barbeque sauce.
Maryland’s Department of Commerce worked with the company to provide guidance as the company prepared to open its Belcamp facility. The site will serve as its East Coast base of operations, a counterpart to its facilities in California. The company plans to utilize the Port of Baltimore for importing and exporting material and products. Once United Foods hires 100 people it could receive a 10-year income tax credit, said Karen Glenn Hood, a spokeswoman for the department.
Hood says it’s the state’s location in the Mid-Atlantic that helps economic developers pitch Maryland to manufacturers such as United Foods. About 104,000 people work in manufacturing in the state, with about 15,000 in food production, according to state figures.
“We have a strategic location that allows companies to reach one-third of the U.S. population within an overnight drive,” she said, “and we have a confluence of large food corporations already here which made it an easy decision for UFI to locate here given the strong supply chain.”
Harford County officials helped the company with permitting and utility connections, as well as regional workforce development services. Harford County Executive Barry Glassman adds that the location offers “buildable land, available infrastructure and a skilled workforce.”
Takeo Shimura, United Foods’ chief operating officer, says Maryland “provides tremendous business advantages” for the company and is an ideal place for the company to establish an East Coast presence. Shimura agrees that location in the Northeast corridor was key to landing the company in Belcamp among other food manufacturers in Riverside Business Park, about 30 miles from the port and Baltimore.