Our editor's column for March 2003

The food industry seems to be becoming a much smaller and friendlier place. Is it because the ranks have dwindled due to consolidation or because people have become more communicative? I’m not sure. All I know is that I am getting more telephone calls and e-mails from food companies, both large and small, with news about their plants and inquiring about our upcoming Food Automation & Manufacturing conference next month.

This cooperation is leading to both an improved level of articles in Food Engineering and one of the best conference programs we’ve had in a decade. Take a look at page 20 in this issue for the full conference program coming up April 6-9 in Clearwater Beach, Florida. You will see that we have put together one of the most intriguing line-ups of speakers since we started producing conferences back in the ‘90s. This year’s speakers include top engineering and operations directors from companies such as Campbell Soup, General Mills, Sara Lee and Tropicana to name a few.

The conference program will focus on the issues you have told us are most important: improving food safety, dealing with the fallout from consolidation, implementing automation, cutting costs in packaging and developing operator skill sets.

If you’ve been to a Food Engineering event in the past, you know we focus on learning the latest technologies in a relaxed atmosphere. At this event you will have the opportunity to work on solving problems with other plant managers and operations directors while also having a great time.

Our tradition of combining the best in technology in a relaxed atmosphere is paying off dividends. Keep those calls and e-mails coming.

See you in Clearwater Beach next month.

Plant Construction Survey Underway

Food Engineeringis now in the process of compiling its annual New Food Plant Construction Survey.

The 26th annual edition will appear in the June issue. The survey will list all major food and beverage plant projects planned, under construction or started up during 2002. This includes renovations, expansions and greenfield projects, including food distribution centers, as well as manufacturing plants. Last year, Food Engineering uncovered over 525 projects.

If you would like to participate and have completed or planned a construction project in 2002 worth over $1 million, please e-mail me at fasslj@bnp.com to receive a copy of the survey form. Information required includes company name, location, products made, square footage, estimated cost, number of employees, actual or expected completion date, construction firm name and type of project: new, renovation or expansion.