Food Producers Find Right Recipe in Charlotte USA

PreGel America, a key player in gelato and sorbetto processing, has been in Charlotte USA for 10 years.

Kevin Litwin
On Thursday, August 23, 2012 - 05:35
Charlotte, NC

Eating is believing in Charlotte USA, where 225 food processing companies employ more than 15,000 workers.

A diverse group of food companies has a presence in the region including Dole Foods, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Perdue and Tyson. The region landed a top banana in the food business in 2012, when Chiquita Brands International brought its headquarters and 400 jobs to Charlotte.

And Chobani Greek Yogurt picked Charlotte for a North American sales headquarters, where it expects to have more than 60 people working by the end of 2012.

The region is home base not only for food makers, but the companies that put food on the shelves. Grocery retailer Food Lion, a part of Belgium’s Delhaize Group, operates more than 1,100 stores. The company was founded and is headquartered in Salisbury, N.C. Harris Teeter, based in Matthews, N.C., operates 200 grocery stores in eight states.

Food-related companies of all sizes are thriving in Charlotte USA

PreGel AMERICA, an Italian company that established its North American operations in Concord, N.C., in 2002, is the largest U.S. manufacturer and distributor of ingredients for specialty desserts such as gelato, sorbetto and frozen yogurt. In late 2011, the company announced an $11.4 million expansion to enhance its distribution center, administrative offices and training facility.

“We categorize our company as global, with PreGel AMERICA in Concord also overseeing PreGel CANADA, PreGel MEXICO and PreGel BRAZIL,” says Jillian Hillard, PreGel AMERICA marketing manager. “We are also in the process of increasing our company’s scope in Central America and South America.”

PreGel sells its packaged ingredient products to a variety of food businesses including gelato shops, frozen yogurt shops, bakeries, delicatessens, restaurants, supermarkets, cruise lines, hotels and casinos.

“Our client list also includes some of the top individual chefs in the country, who use our high-end pastes and compounds,” Hillard says. “Our current expansion will allow us to add more research and development labs, quality assurance labs and a new training facility in the Concord, N.C., headquarters.“

Hillard adds that PreGel hosts on-site culinary training classes.

“We screen people who might be interested in starting a gelato or sorbetto shop, then offer them top training,” she says. “The PreGel Professional Training Center features the best kitchen equipment in the business, which is why we seek students who are true professionals – those who are looking to start or expand their businesses in the pastry and desserts world.”


Kevin Litwin is the author of Crazy Lucky Dead and a freelance feature writer with a career spanning more than 20 years.