Global food manufacturer Kerry is the winner of our 2022 Sustainable Plant of the Year award. The company’s breadcrumbs and coatings plant in Rome, Ga., (pictured above) recently underwent a $125 million expansion that added 30% more production capacity to the facility. To put that into perspective, those at Kerry say the volume of breading that can be produced annually now at the facility would coat approximately 70 billion chicken nuggets. 

The expansion project was spurred by the widely publicized “chicken wars” among fast food and quick-serve restaurant brands—all of which feature their own signature fried chicken sandwich on the menu—which created substantial demand for breadcrumbs and coatings. Also, the rising popularity of breaded and fried foods in general elevated the need for more volume, which can be partially attributed to increased sales of air fryers for home use. 

Within Kerry’s plant expansion is an array of sustainable and environmentally focused initiatives for energy and resource conservation, which will be detailed further in our October magazine cover story. In addition, we’re thrilled to have Kerry's Aleisha Jaeger and Christina O'Keefe present the Engineering Keynote Address about the Rome plant expansion at this year's FA&M (Food Automation & Manufacturing) event—our first in-person FA&M since 2019. 

If you haven't already, you can register to attend FA&M (September 11-14) here, which will be held at the Doral Resort in Miami.