Report of Philly's food economy finds more than 10% of jobs in city related to food

Hadas Kuznits
November 20, 2019 - 3:21 pm
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A new report released Wednesday morning focuses on Philadelphia's comprehensive food economy.  

The Economy League of Greater Philadelphia's Jeff Hornstein says the goal of the "Good Eats" study was to compile information in order to help propose new opportunities in Philadelphia.  

"The scope of the food economy's enormous. You know, more than 10% of the jobs in the city are food-related. Almost one-fifth of the firms in the city, the businesses in the city are food-related," he explained. 

Hornstein, who helped design and execute the study, found that nearly a fifth of the jobs in the city are related to food, but most of those jobs are entry-level, low-paying positions.

"The bulk of the jobs in the food economy, something like two-thirds of them, are not exactly where we want them to be wage-wise. They're in the low-wage sort of food service element of the food economy, not the most highly unionized sector in this town, so they tend to pay less than what we would consider to be a living wage," he added. 

Meanwhile, Cheryl Bettigole with the Philadelphia Health Department says the bright spots here are that there are lots of small businesses focusing on healthy and quality food.

"We are starting to see reports come out about the burgeoning vegan food movement, healthy food movement in Philadelphia," she said. 

And Hornstein says the healthy food trend seems to be gaining steam among the city's largest food providers at hospitals and universities.

"The most exciting bright spot for me is the way the institutional food purveyors are coming around to healthy food. US Foods, Sysco, Bon Appetite, Aramark — they're all aligned with trying to change food systems," he added.