You're a shining star, no matter who you are

September 1, 2009
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While some plant projects may have been put on hold this year, the food industry has proved to be a shining star compared to hard hit industries such as automotive and construction.

As the world holds its breath and waits for the economic crisis to end, the food and beverage industry is hard at work producing goods for consumers across the globe. Food engineers and operations directors continue to toil to meet increasing demands for private label products and goods consumed at home, not in restaurants. While some plant projects may have been put on hold this year, the food industry has proved to be a shining star compared to hard hit industries such as automotive and construction.

At this time each year, Food Engineering begins a search for one shining example of manufacturing at its best. And for more than a quarter of a century, Food Engineering has honored top-notch operations and engineering staffs and projects in the food industry through its annual Food Plant of the Year Award. Entries for the 2010 competition are due December 1, 2009. Any food or beverage plant project that became fully operational in 2009 is eligible to enter.

The Food Plant of the Year Award is not limited to greenfield projects. Major expansions, renovations or brownfield plant projects are eligible and will be judged on an equal footing with brand-new plants.

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.

    A detailed, 10-page narrative 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 wireless networks. Clearly captioned photos and illustrations should be submitted with the narrative. Please note: Plants must produce finished consumer products.

    Any finished food or beverage company or design, architectural, engineering or consulting firm, as well as major suppliers to the plant, are eligible to submit an entry.

    If you are interested in joining the ranks of past Food Plant of the Year winners such as Pepperidge Farm, Barilla, Coors and Dannon, please e-mail me at or visit and click on Plant of the Year to receive an official entry form and complete instructions for entering the competition.

    Good luck! We look forward to receiving your entry and hearing about your shining star accomplishments.
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