Smart maneuvers, creative innovation distinguish this year’s “Food Plants of the Year” honorees.

Just as in a sports tournament, it doesn’t take long for certain teams to emerge looking like winners. But they don’t get to the top of their brackets by sheer luck or serendipity. Rather, aside from the rare Cinderella story, teams - and in this case food plants  - earn their victories through hard work, planning, careful team selection and clearly defined targets.

Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ 2007-2008 “Food Plants of the Year” honorees are no exception.

You’ll find one processor who first earned OSHA VPP Star recognition 10 years ago and has made a habit of doing so every year since. You’ll read about another that has increased production volume by 250 percent and become known for product innovation in its subcategory. Still another bolstered its employees’ enthusiasm and loyalty with reward programs and thus significantly decreased turnover.

By talking with plant managers and other company leaders, it became clear what spurred these “teams” to victory - strong leadership, clear communication of goals and healthy company cultures. As one plant manager said, “It is fundamental that once we have accomplished one goal we can no longer realize success without a new goal to work toward.”

To this point, another reason each of these plants was chosen as a “Food Plant of the Year” is because they haven’t stopped aiming high. None are the type to idle on their accomplishments - each has its sights set on the future.Our goal is to “consistently deliver on the world-class measures we know we are capable of achieving,” says one.

“There’s always change. There are always things to improve,” says another.Find out why each honoree was recognized, starting on page 10, and keep your eye on these plants as they play the field in the coming year - it’s going to be a great game.



The cream of the crop

Just as in a sports tournament, it doesn’t take long for certain teams to emerge looking like winners. But they don’t get to the top of their brackets by sheer luck or serendipity. Rather, aside from the rare Cinderella story, teams - and in this case food plants  - earn their victories through hard work, planning, careful team selection and clearly defined targets.

Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ 2007-2008 “Food Plants of the Year” honorees are no exception.

You’ll find one processor who first earned OSHA VPP Star recognition 10 years ago and has made a habit of doing so every year since. You’ll read about another that has increased production volume by 250 percent and become known for product innovation in its subcategory. Still another bolstered its employees’ enthusiasm and loyalty with reward programs and thus significantly decreased turnover.

By talking with plant managers and other company leaders, it became clear what spurred these “teams” to victory - strong leadership, clear communication of goals and healthy company cultures. As one plant manager said, “It is fundamental that once we have accomplished one goal we can no longer realize success without a new goal to work toward.”

To this point, another reason each of these plants was chosen as a “Food Plant of the Year” is because they haven’t stopped aiming high. None are the type to idle on their accomplishments - each has its sights set on the future.Our goal is to “consistently deliver on the world-class measures we know we are capable of achieving,” says one.

“There’s always change. There are always things to improve,” says another.Find out why each honoree was recognized, starting on page 10, and keep your eye on these plants as they play the field in the coming year - it’s going to be a great game.

The cream of the cropTo select this year’s “Food Plants of the Year” honorees, R&FF solicited nominations from industry experts and observers, industry suppliers and editors of our sister publications - The National Provisioner, Dairy Field (now Dairy Field Reports in Dairy Foods magazine) and Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery. Plant performance was evaluated across 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 the six different refrigerated and frozen food categories. This year’s honorees and their respective categories are:

Contessa Premium Foods Inc., Los Angeles
- Meals & Entrees

Simplot Food Group, Aberdeen, Idaho
- Snacks, Appetizers & Sides

Lopez Foods Inc., Oklahoma City
- Meat, Poultry & Seafood

NORPAC Foods Inc., Brooks, Ore.
- Fruits & Vegetables

Wenner Bread Products, Bayshore, N.Y., and Bohemia N.Y.
- Bakery Foods

Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, Bakersfield, Calif.
- Dairy Foods

Do YOU have a plant (or know of a facility) operating at the top of its game? If so, consider nominating the operation for next year’s Food Plants of the Year issue - simply e-mail details about the plant and its achievements to Carolyn Chapin at chapinc@bnpmedia.com.