IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN. YOU may be thinking…’04 budget cuts? Fall trade show frenzy? No, it’s getting close to the deadline for Food Engineering’s annual Plant of the Year competition. Many of you may have already received the Call for Entries brochure, but for those who haven’t received the brochure or are not familiar with the contest, let me tell you all about it.

For over 20 years Food Engineering has honored the best and brightest engineering minds in the food industry through our annual Food Plant of the Year Award. From the first winner in 1983, Campbell Soup, to this year’s winner, American Italian Pasta Company, each plant has been a beacon of outstanding process innovation.

Entries for the 2004 competition are due December 2, 2003. Any food or beverage plant project that became fully operational in 2003 is eligible to enter.

The Food Plant of the Year Award is not limited to greenfield projects. Major expansions, renovations or brownfield plant projects can and should enter the competition. Expansion and renovation projects will be judged on equal footing with brand new plants.

Entries will be judged according to the following criteria:

  • Contribution to the company’s actual or projected long-term business plan;

  • Level of innovation in processing and packaging line design (creative new technology or creative use of existing technology);

  • Building and site design innovation;

  • Productive integration of workforce into the overall plan;

  • On-time/on budget performance;

  • Food safety innovation;

  • Use of new automation and software technologies;

  • Flexible manufacturing;

  • Supply chain management and enterprise resource planning;

  • Worker safety innovation; and

  • Environmental impact.

A detailed narrative of at least 10 pages describing the plant, based on the criteria above, is required. High quality, clearly captioned photographs of the plant’s processing and packaging lines must also accompany the entry.

The facility must be available for a visit by Food Engineering staff in January or February 2004.

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

If you are interested in joining the ranks of past Food Plant of the Year winners such as Nabisco, Frito-Lay, Coors, and Dannon, please e-mail me at to receive an official entry form as well as complete instructions and requirements for entering the competition. Reminder: all entries must be received by December 2, 2003.

Good luck! We look forward to receiving your entries and hearing about your manufacturing triumphs.