Clemens Food Group’s Hatfield Pork Processing Facility and Vital Farms’ Egg Central Station have won FOOD ENGINEERING magazine’s Plant of the Year and Sustainable Plant of the Year Awards, respectively.

Clemens’ Hatfield, Pa., facility is an expansion project with 308,000 sq. ft. of combined production space for smoked meat, including bone-in hams, boneless hams, lunch-styled meat, bologna and more, with additional lines for foodservice bacon and fully cooked sausage. Gray was selected to provide a variety of design, construction and engineering services for the project on a 32-acre plot.

The impetus for the expansion was to improve throughput to meet growing customer demand. Having been in operation for more than 75 years with decades’ worth of ad hoc renovations that inhibited a consistent product flow. The plan for the project called for a split into separate areas for raw meat and ready-to-eat (RTE) products, and the added product lines boosted Clemens’ production capacity to 100 million pounds of smoked meat products per year and 6,000 pounds of fully cooked, individually-quick-frozen (IQF) sausage links and patties per hour.

It was this improved production capacity to meet the company’s business strategy while introducing state-of-the-art food safety and hygiene measures in addition to emphasizing employee quality of life that caught the attention of the judges.

The plant will be featured in the April cover story of FOOD ENGINEERING and the award will be presented at the annual Food Automation & Manufacturing Symposium and Expo, held October 11-13 at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Bonita Springs, Fla.

Vital Farms’ expansion of its Egg Central Station in Springfield, Mo., doubled the facility’s size to 150,000 sq. ft. to incorporate new technology and conservation features for additional capacity. The added square footage and technologies built upon the sustainable attributes of the facility, particularly improved water and energy conservation. Buxton Kubik Dodd was the project architect and Sandpebble Project Management was the project manager on a project that used LED lights to improve energy efficiency by 50%, bioretention tools to conserve more than 700,000 gallons of water per year, a water filtration system that allows water reuse for up to four hours, and a design that captures natural light and manages washroom humidity to make a more comfortable work experience for crew.

The facility is on track to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver Certification, will rely heavily on solar panels to reduce electricity use and greenhouse gas emissions and reduce reliance on the electrical grid, and be a zero-waste facility.

The plant will be featured as the cover story in FOOD ENGINEERING’s June 2023 issue, and the award will also be presented at the Food Automation & Manufacturing Symposium and Expo.