Annual Industry Briefing

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2021 KC SmartPort Annual Industry Briefing Recap 

On June 24, 2021, KC SmartPort held its 12th Annual Industry Briefing KC Delivers: The Hub for Food Logistics in Kansas City. Featured speakers Jason Robertson, vice president of food + beverage at CRB, and Chris Gutierrez, president of KC SmartPort, addressed a crowd of more than 300 logistics, real estate and economic development professionals.

Robertson and Gutierrez discussed the top trends in the $5.9 trillion dollar global food and beverage industry, including changes in consumer purchasing habits, the need for speed-to-market solutions, quality of life in the workplace, increased automation and mounting supply chain challenges. In addition, they shared their views on the continued growth of the KC region as a hub for food and beverage logistics.

“Shortages of raw materials and rapid changes to consumer shopping behaviors are greatly impacting food and beverage supply chains and increasing costs. These changes are requiring many companies to evaluate options for increased efficiency and speed of transport, which could have dramatic effects on the transportation network, facility locations and use of automation,” Robertson said. “Kansas City is perfectly positioned in a central North American location. With close proximity to key agricultural markets and advanced logistics infrastructure, the region is optimal for food and beverage manufacturing, distribution and fulfillment.”

The Kansas City region’s $125 billion industrial food and beverage industry continues to thrive, with more than 670 food and beverage companies calling the KC area home.

“Over the last 18 months, our project pipeline and successful recruitment of new companies to the Kansas City region has been dominated by food and beverage companies, including Dots Pretzels, Hostess, World Pantry, Pretzels, Inc. and Niagara Bottling, among others,” Gutierrez said. “As new food and beverage manufacturing, distribution, warehouse and cold storage projects continue to focus their attention on the KC region, our industrial development community is stepping up to meet speed-to-market demand with 15 million square feet of new industrial space expected to be delivered in 2021, including the region’s first speculative cold storage facility in Liberty, MO.”

2021 Sponsors

Special thanks to our sponsors for their support and partnership to make the 2021 KC SmartPort Annual Industry Briefing possible.

KC Delivers| KC SmartPort Food & Beverage Video from Hint on Vimeo.


Jason Robertson-headshot 

Jason Robertson
Vice President, Food + Beverage

Jason Robertson serves as Vice President, Food + Beverage at CRB, leading the company-wide growth of the market by leveraging design, construction and delivery excellence to bring innovative solutions to clients.

Robertson has more than twenty years of experience in design and construction, with nearly 13 of those years serving CRB clients. He is a member of the Industrial Asset Management Council and Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA), Mid-America Region. Robertson acted as president of the DBIA, Mid-America Region in 2014 and served as president of the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering, Midwest chapter in 2012. He was also named an Engineering News-Record Top 20 Under 40 honoree in 2014.

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