A new year and new opportunities are in motion for the industry, after a (sometimes) bumpy but successful 2021. Supply chain issues—and corresponding unavailability of ingredients and materials—will hopefully wane as the year moves forward, while staffing challenges will likely remain, since they were present even before the pandemic. No real solution exists other than to increase automation and technology to compensate for a shallow labor pool. 

Here at FOOD ENGINEERING, a new year means a bigger, better and expanded 2022 Plant of the Year award. As I write this, we are still taking submissions and nominations, since the deadline is February 28. You can submit your entry (or entries) right here.

New for 2022 is a multi-tiered entry format based on total financial investment in a project: 

Division 1: $350 million and up

Division 2: $349 million - $150 million

Division 3: $149 million - $50 million

Pilot/Test Plants: Under $50 million

From the entries, we’ll choose division winners in each tier, plus a Grand Award Winner, which will be featured as our Plant of the Year cover story in August, along with an award presentation at our Food Automation and Manufacturing Symposium (FA&M) in September in Miami. Also from the entries, we’ll pick a Sustainable Plant of the Year (October cover story) and two Fabulous (FAB) Food Plants for our April and November cover stories.

Speaking of our FA&M Symposium in 2022, we’ll be back in person after two years of a virtual FA&M. Our 2022 event promises to be the best ever, with industry leaders and top experts providing impactful keynotes, practical education sessions, lively panel discussions and trend forecasting, plus lots of networking opportunities. To register or become a sponsor, just click here. 

The industry is poised to innovate and grow further in 2022, and FOOD ENGINEERING will be here to cover it all, and hopefully, help you anticipate and navigate around the inevitable roadblocks—large and small—that arise throughout a calendar year.