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With unemployment low and competition for employees fierce, the food industry is struggling to attract and retain top talent. Every year, Forbes surveys workers to discover which employers are doing the best job of creating an environment where people like to work.

Although the lists below look impressive (the greater food industry accounted for close to 10% of the America’s Best Large Employers list), the details suggest that food retailers and restaurants are doing a much better job than food processors of keeping their employees happy. Land’O Lakes, General Mills, and E&J Gallo Winery were the only processors to make the top 100. Cargill, the world’s largest food company, didn’t even make the list, while Nestle, the second largest, came in at #239.

Here are the food processors, distributors, retailers, and restaurants that made the 2019 lists for best large employers and best midsize employers.

America’s Best Large Employers

Position Company Industry
1 Trader Joe’s Retail and wholesale
4 Costco Wholesale Retail and wholesale
19 Wegmans Food Markets Food markets
23 Land O’Lakes Food, soft beverages, alcohol, and tobacco
28 In-N-Out Burger Restaurants
36 General Mills Food processing
62 Publix Super Markets Food markets
72 E&J Gallo Winery Food, soft beverages, alcohol, and tobacco
94 Starbucks Restaurants
132 H-E-B Grocery Stores Retail and wholesale
158 Mead Johnson Nutrition Household/Personal Care
164 Jason’s Deli Restaurants
166 Mars Food, drink, and tobacco
178 McCormick Food processing
188 Five Guys Restaurants
197 ALDI Retail and wholesale
199 Kwik Trip/Kwik Star Retail and wholesale
200 Sysco Food retail
206 Texas Roadhouse Restaurants
208 Whole Foods Market Food retail
215 Wawa Convenience stores and gas stations
230 PepsiCo Beverages
239 Nestle Food processing
245 Coca-Cola Beverages
281 Unilever Household/personal care
283 It Works Packaged Goods
286 Big Y World Class Market Retail and wholesale
291 Anheuser-Busch InBev Beverages
302 The Cheesecake Factory Restaurants
308 Sanderson Farms Food, soft beverages, alcohol, and tobacco
338 Kraft Heinz Company Food processing
374 Levy Restaurants
396 Red Lobster Hotels, restaurants, and leisure
399 Darden Restaurants Restaurants
402 Saputo Cheese Food, soft beverages, alcohol, and tobacco
412 Dave & Buster’s Restaurants
415 JM Smucker Food processing
416 Rich Products Food, drink, and tobacco
425 TGI Friday’s Restaurants
441 Chewy Retail and wholesale
455 Keurig Dr Pepper Beverages
485 Archer Daniels Midland Food processing
490 Panda Express Restaurants
493 Snyder’s-Lance Food, soft beverages, alcohol, and tobacco
494 Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Restaurants


America’s Best Midsize Employers

Position Company Industry
50 Chick-fil-A Restaurants
75 Earth Fare Retail and wholesale
89 MillerCoors Food, soft beverages, alcohol, and tobacco
105 Herr’s Food, soft beverages, alcohol, and tobacco
110 Heinen’s Grocery Store Retail and wholesale
156 Total Wine & More Retail and wholesale
162 Wells Enterprises Food, soft beverages, alcohol, and tobacco
184 Diageo Beverages
192 Papa Murphy’s Take ‘N’ Bake Restaurants
205 Red Bull Food, soft beverages, alcohol, and tobacco
206 Bi-Mart Retail and wholesale
254 Harmons Retail and wholesale
284 Captain D’s Seafood Restaurants
287 Caribou Coffee Restaurants
298 Pet Supplies Plus Retail and wholesale
305 Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Restaurants
319 Mellow Mushroom Restaurants
324 Sbarro Restaurants
330 Ben E Keith Food, drink, and tobacco
341 Bar-S Foods Food, soft beverages, alcohol, and tobacco
354 HoneyBaked Ham Retail and wholesale
368 Brown-Forman Beverages
390 Famous Dave’s Restaurants
410 Redner’s Markets Retail and wholesale
411 Firebirds Wood Fired Grill Restaurants
412 Fresh Thyme Retail and wholesale
416 Utz Quality Foods Food, soft beverages, alcohol, and tobacco
417 Ingredion Food processing
440 Pret a Manger Restaurants
500 Amy’s Kitchen Food, soft beverages, alcohol, and tobacco


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