With a strong global reputation for lobster and seafood, blueberries, and potatoes, Maine is also home to a vibrant and growing specialty food and beverage sector producing numerous products including craft beers, salsas, frozen baked goods, jams, sauces, and more.

Food Basket of the Northeast

In 2013, The New York Times wrote about Portland’s ‘prodigious dining options’; five years later, Bon Appetit magazine would name it 2018 Restaurant City of the Year. 

Overall, restaurant sales in Maine are estimated at $2.5 billion annually, employing more than 63,000 at its summer peak in 2019. 

Nearly 40 million visitors come to the state each year, and consuming fresh and local foods is not only embraced by year-round residents, but has increasingly become part of the Maine vacation experience.

Select Food & Beverage Companies in Maine

Bon Appetit’s 2018 Restaurant City of the Year:  Portland, Maine

Portland Maine's Old PortIIM_Food_Quote.png

In August 2018, Bon Appetit magazine published an article on its website naming Portland its “2018 Restaurant City of the Year.”  In May 2019, an article by Devra First, the Boston Globe’s restaurant critic and food reporter, suggested ‘not to waste a single meal’ while in the state’s largest city.  According to the City Clerk’s office, Portland has over 500 food establishments and  with 18 breweries, it is on top in the number of breweries per 50,000 population by C+R Research.

Opportunities in Maine

Food & Beverage 2020  Although the state is most readily known as the leading supplier of Maine lobster, over 100 million pounds (45 million kg) in 2019, and the largest producer of wild blueberries, 70-100 million pounds (31-45 mt) annually, Maine’s food and beverage industry is varied, thriving and evolving.

Other key subsectors – broadly defined as those offering high capacity yield, strong growth potential, specialization, and processing plant opportunities – include:

  • Potatoes, frozen fruit, and vegetable-based products
  • Beverages including bottled water, as well as specialty alcohol and beer produced by local distilleries and breweries
  • Functional foods/nutraceuticals
  • Frozen specialty foods and baked goods