Editor's Note: In search of the next winner

Dannon, Pepperidge Farm, Coors and Frito Lay. What do these four companies have in common? Popular consumer brands? Delicious products to consume? Manufacturing leaders? Yes, on all counts. But one thing you may not realize is that all four of these companies have been honored at least once over the past 25 years as Food Engineering's Plant of the Year.

Each year Food Engineering searches for one food or beverage plant to receive the top award. We are looking for an outstanding new plant construction project, a major expansion or a highly renovated facility that is or will be completely operational during 2006.

Here are the judging criteria:
  • The plant's contribution to the company's long-term business plans or strategies
  • The level of innovation in processing and packaging line design, including post-production material handling
  • Building and site innovation
  • On-time and on-budget performance
  • Flexible manufacturing
  • Level of automation
  • Food safety innovation
  • Supply chain initiatives.

Any food or beverage company, architectural and engineering firm, or supplier to the plant may submit entries by December 1, 2006. If you have a 2006 plant project that is highly innovative, please contact me for a "Call for Entries" brochure.

A detailed narrative of 10 pages in support of your entry is required. The narrative should state how the plant excels with reference to the judging criteria. If there is additional innovation regarding the plant, please let us know. This might include: productivity improvement, worker recruitment and training; sustainability initiatives; and implementation of new technologies such as RFID. Clearly captioned photos and illustrations should be submitted with the narrative. Please note: plants must produce finished consumer products.

The 25th annual Food Plant of the Year award will be presented on April 17, 2007 at Food Engineering's Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference and Expo, scheduled for April 15-18 at the Caribe Royal Resort in Orlando.

We look forward to hearing about your latest plant innovations and welcome your entries. Good luck!

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