This year, Food Engineering’s revived Sustainable Plant of the Year Award has been given to Clif Bar for its newly built bakery in Twin Falls, Idaho. The organic food facility opened last June and is a 300,000 square-foot, light-filled, energy and water efficient building.
Food Engineering has given out sustainability awards in the past, but in slightly different fashions. For the previous two years, in partnership with PMMI’s OpX Leadership Network, Food Engineering has given out the Sustainability Excellence in Manufacturing Awards, which focused on specific plant projects and programs in multiple food production facilities. Previous to that, the award went to a single processor who had made significant strides in sustainability (i.e. Smithfield Foods in 2014, Plumrose’s Council Bluffs, Iowa operation in 2013, Stahlbush Island Farms in 2012).
This year’s award goes to Clif Bar in appreciation of the company’s dedication to sustainable values as central to the greenfield project. The plant goes above and beyond industry standards, using 100 percent renewable energy and, in comparison with most bakeries, reducing refrigerant emissions by 40 percent, water use by 37 percent and energy use by 21 percent.
“Our design rallying cry was, ‘Think like a tree,’” explains Rich Berger, vice president of engineering for Clif Bar. “Trees run on 100 percent renewable energy, recycle all waste, and sustain and improve the places they grow. That model influenced our design, and now our operation. Nature has a lot to teach us."
The Sustainable Plant of the Year Award will be presented to Clif Bar at Food Engineering’s Food Automation and Manufacturing Conference this spring in Naples, Fla. Also, Food Engineering will feature a cover story on the plant in its October issue.