Supporting Illinois agri-businesses creates boost to Illinois economy
This year, the 19th annual Illinois Products Expo will offer a ‘Taste of Illinois agriculture’ as visitors will be able to taste, sample and purchase all of what Illinois has to offer. Dozens of Illinois food companies, wineries and agricultural associations will take part in the upcoming agricultural showcase on the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
The Expo’s food offerings will include fresh meat products, pizza, sauces, homemade jellies and jams, ice cream, and gourmet seasonings all produced, packaged or processed in Illinois. There will also be non-food items, such as soy candles and agricultural-based soaps and lotions on display and available for purchase. A complete list of participating vendors can be found on the Expo website, https://www.agr.state.il.us/marketing/expo/.
Illinois agriculture is more than the crops you see in the fields. Illinois ranks first in the nation for food processing sales ($186 billion), and it is one of our state’s top manufacturing activities. The 2,372 food processing companies in Illinois supports more than 71,000 jobs.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture Bureau of Marketing, Promotion and Grants aims to assist small to medium size Illinois agri-businesses enter the marketplace. This includes everything grocery store introductions, export assistance, as well as branding and marketing campaigns like the Buy Illinois Challenge.
“The Buy Illinois Challenge is a great tool to generate consumer and business awareness of Illinois-made products,” said Ag Director Raymond Poe. “Thanks to the popularity of the Illinois Products Expo, farmers markets, farm-to-plate initiatives and the emergence of Illinois products in local grocery stores, it has never been easier for Illinois residents to purchase products that have been produced, processed, packaged or manufactured in Illinois.”
The Buy Illinois Challenge asks Illinois households to dedicate $10 of their existing weekly budget to the purchase of Illinois products. If each of the 4.7 million Illinois households dedicated just $10 per week to buy Illinois products, we would generate an additional $47 million for the Illinois economy each week. This simple act would provide a tremendous boost to local Illinois agribusinesses, but also our state economy. To find an agribusiness near you, or learn more about the Buy Illinois Challenge, visit our website at https://www.agr.state.il.us/marketing/ilprod/.
The Illinois Products Expo will be open on Saturday, March 4th from 10:00am-5:00pm and Sunday, March 5th from 10:00am-3:00pm in the Orr Building at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Admission is $5 per person. Children 10 and younger will be admitted free of charge. While food sampling will be free, the beverage tastings are offered at a small cost. Five dollars will get you five tastings and your own wine glass to take home.
Here are a few of the participating vendors scheduled to attend the 2017 Illinois Products Expo:
Butch’s Pizza (Morton, IL)
Country Lights Soy Candles (Leland, IL)
Creekstone Kettle Works (Raymond, IL)
Crowridge Farm Ice Cream (Elliott, IL)
Golden Prairie Popcorn (Nokomis, IL)
Engrained Brewing Company (Springfield, IL.)
Eastside Café Pizza (Warrenville, IL)
Four Score and Seven Ribs Ago BBQ (Chatham, IL)
Illinois Pork Producers Association (Springfield, IL)
Hapburgers Signature Seasonings (Orland Park, IL)
Grandma Cooky (Paxton, IL)
Jimmy B’s Super Salsa (Springfield, IL)
Lil Buddies BBQ (Wayne City, IL)
Jones Boys Market (Ashland, IL)
J.D. Mullen’s Dressings (Palestine, IL)
Randolph Packing Co. (Streamwood, IL)
Reinneck Ranch (Mascoutah, IL)
Oakland Noodle Company (Oakland, IL)
Meatsmack (Plainfield, IL)
Cousins Dog Biscuit Company (Urbana, IL)
Serious Lip Balm (Springfield, IL)
Sasse’s Apiary (Chestnut, IL)
Uncle Joe’s Sauces (Ina, IL)
Homestead Bakery (Arthur, IL)
Two Fat Guys Gourmet Sauces (McHenry, IL)
Toohill Seed & Beef Services (Clinton, IL)
Zillion’s Chili (Springfield, IL)
Turasky Meats (Springfield, IL)
More Illinois food companies are expected to join this growing list in the days leading up to the Expo. If an Illinois food company would like to learn more about participating in the Illinois Products Expo or any of the other programs offered by the Illinois Department of Agriculture, they can contact the Illinois Department of Agriculture Bureau of Marketing, Promotion and Grants at (217) 782-2581.