For most of us as summer comes to a close, it’s time to get back to the business of running food plants after a few weeks off to relax.  As you get back to work, I would like to remind you that now is the time to consider entering your innovative plant projects into Food Engineering’s annual Plant of the Year award competition. Any new food or beverage plant project or major retrofit completed in 2008 is eligible for the 2009 award. Following are some of the judging criteria:

  • Contribution to the company’s long-term business plans/strategies
  • Innovation in processing, packaging and post-production material handling
  • Productive integration of workers into the overall plan
  • On-time/on-budget performance
  • Sustainability initiatives
  • Food safety innovation
  • State-of-the-art automation and software technologies
  • Flexible manufacturing 
  • Supply chain management.

    In support of your entry, a 10-page detailed narrative, stating how your plant excels with reference to the judging criteria, is required. Please note: Products made must be finished consumer goods. Entries are due by December 1, 2008. For a complete list of requirements and information on entry preparation, please visit and click on Plant of the Year Entry Form.

    The 27th annual Food Plant of the Year award will be presented on April 28, 2009 at Food Engineering’s Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference and Expo, scheduled for April 26-29 at the Ritz-Carlton Resort in Sarasota, FL.

    In today’s competitive environment, processors are continuing to achieve manufacturing excellence, and we’d like to hear about your latest successes. Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions concerning the Plant of the Year award.