1. When are the entries due?
Submissions for the 2021 Food Plant of the Year award are due by January 31, 2021.
2. What plants are eligible?
Any new food/beverage plant or major retrofit that became fully operational in calendar year 2020 or by January 31 of 2021. Note: Plant should produce processed food/beverage products (not simply value-added commodities) designed for human or pet consumption.
Plant visit: Any plant entered in the competition must be available by April/May 2021 for an editorial visit to be part of our August issue. Please do not submit a plant that will not be available.
3. Are renovations eligible?
Yes, major renovations/expansions of existing facilities are eligible. Renovations will be judged on an equal footing with greenfield plants. Projects must have been completed in calendar year 2020 or by Jan. 31, 2021.
4. Who may submit entries?
Food companies, A/E firms, suppliers or any others qualified to provide a detailed rationale for a particular plant. All entrants will be considered for Plant of the Year and Sustainable Plant of the Year awards, as well as future consideration as a Fab Food Plant article in Food Engineering.
Contact for Entries and Further Information
Casey Laughman, Editor-in-Chief, Food Engineering
What are the judging criteria?
1. The plant’s contribution (actual/projected) to the company’s long-term business plans/strategies.
2. The level of innovation in processing and packaging line design (creative new technology or creatively used existing technology). This can include post-production materials handling.
3. Building and site innovations.
4. Productive integration of workers into overall plan.
What is required?
A detailed narrative (maximum 10 pages, 8 1/2 x 11-inch page size) in support of the entry. Narrative should document the ways in which the plant excels with reference to the stated judging criteria. However, if there are additional relevant matters that go beyond the stated criteria, please be sure to call them to the judges’ attention in the narrative. These might include: on-time/on-budget performance; environmental impact; worker safety innovations; food safety innovations; advanced automation, process control and software technologies; size of project; manufacturing teams; flexible manufacturing; supply chain management; vertical startups; and enterprise resource planning.
Clearly captioned illustrations, drawings, photos, etc. should be submitted if directly relevant. Please send high quality photos. Video clips of the facility's processing and packaging lines may also be included to support the entry, if available. Photos and videos can be submitted via Dropbox or another file-sharing service if they are too large for email.
All entries should have a copy of the official Entry Form attached to the front. All entries should be submitted electronically to Food Engineering Editor-in-Chief Casey Laughman at email@example.com.
Download Entry Form (Microsoft Word Format)
Download Entry Form (PDF format)
Entries due: January 31, 2021
Final selection of winner: February 2021
Plant visit by FE editors: April/May 2021
Specially featured on the cover of Food Engineering: August 2021
Past Plant of the Year Award Winners
2020 The J.M. Smucker Co.
2019 Valley Milk LLC
2015 Mars Chocolate North America
2014 Blue Diamond Growers
2012 Northeast Foods - Automatic Rolls of NC
2011 Shearer's Foods
2010 Keystone Foods
2009 Celebration Foods
2008 Barilla America
2007 T. Marzetti
2006 Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream
2005 Bell & Evans
2004 Pepperidge Farm
2003 American Italian Pasta Company
2002 Future Beef Operations, LLC
2001 Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee USA Ltd.
2000 The Dannon Co., Inc.
1999 Hunt-Wesson, Inc.
1998 Wyandot, Inc.
1997 Hudson Foods, Kentucky Div.
1996 Nabisco Specialty Products
1995 Dole Value-Added Products
1994 Jerome Cheese
1993 Carolina Food Processors
1992 Pepperidge Farm
1991 General Mills
1990 Mazza Cheese
1989 Carnation Co.
1987 Steuben Foods
1986 Golden Cheese
1983 Campbell Soup