These food plants are driving advances in sustainability, employee programs, food safety and productivity.


By Bob Garrison

Which is better: marketing or manufacturing? Although both functions play equally important roles, marketing – with colorful new products, promotion and more – often gets the spotlight.

That said, Refrigerated & Frozen Foods couldn’t be more pleased to showcase manufacturing. Behind the scenes, food plants truly drive every successful company. That much is evident in R&FF’s 10th annual Food Plants of the Year feature. Stretching across six different refrigerated and frozen food categories, these plants are on the front lines of change with new ideas and new approaches.

See R&FF Extra! for profiles of:

ConAgra Foods – ConAgra’s Council Bluffs, Iowa, frozen entrée plant takes continuous improvement and process control to new heights.

Keystone Foods – Meat and poultry processor Keystone Foods, West Conshohocken, Pa., makes an award-winning commitment to sustainability.

Gill’s Onions LLC – This Oxnard, Calif., processor is drawing worldwide interest for converting its process waste into clean energy.

Wells Dairy Inc. – Empowered employees take productivity, food safety to new heights at Wells’ Dairy in St. George, Utah.

Lantmännen Unibake USA – Lantmännen Unibake’s St. Petersburg, Fla., plant successfully combines automation with artisan baking.

McCain Foods (Canada) – McCain Foods’ Florenceville, N.B., French fry plant sets new potato industry standards for productivity and sustainability.

And the award goes to . . .

To choose this year’s “Food Plants of the Year” honorees, R&FF solicited nominations from industry experts and observers, industry suppliers and the editors of sister publications such as The National Provisioner, Food Engineering, Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery, Dairy Foods and Dairy Field Reports.

Plant performance was evaluated against one or more of the following criteria:
- Worker Safety
- Community Involvement
- Food Safety
- Employee Programs
- Environmental Initiatives
- Process / Packaging Innovation
- Productivity

R&FF then selected one plant from each of six distinct refrigerated and frozen food sectors (regardless of sales channel). These categories include meals and entrees; snacks, appetizers and side dishes; prepared meat and poultry; bakery foods; prepared fruit and vegetables; and dairy products.