God love researchers. Life is more interesting somehow when it's quantified. Now a couple of researchers at the U of M's Food Industry Center (apparently there is such a thing) have come up with a daunting but oddly fascinating study on just how big the food industry is in Minnesota. And how did they determine such a thing? They counted every food-related company in the state. Every. Single. One.
Using databases such as Dun and Bradstreet and other sources, researchers Jean Kinsey and Koel Ghosh came up with a very educated estimate that includes agri-giants like Cargill, corner convenience stores, grocery stores, restaurants, food processors, grain elevators, brokers, distributors, warehouses, liquor stores and every other damn thing they could think of. They say they didn't count the state's 81,000 farms (although apparently someone else has) or include companies whose headquarters are in other states (like Omaha-based Dairy Queen, for example).
So enough of a drumroll--how many are there?
Obsessive types can see the entire list and the full report here.