Bonduelle Fresh Americas, formerly Ready Pac Foods, installed an energy-efficient cogeneration system at the company's Irwindale, Calif., headquarters production plant. This integrated system will supply the plant with electricity while using the waste heat to provide chilled water to the facility through an absorption chiller. This system will also decrease overall energy consumption, lower greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the plant's carbon footprint.

"We believe that nature is our future at Bonduelle, and one of our major objectives is to reduce our impact on the environment," says Mary Thompson, chief executive officer. "This cogeneration system, the first of its kind for Bonduelle in North America, is one big step toward producing our fresh salads, meals and snacks more sustainably."

The system will be able to self-produce more than 75% of its own energy, thus reducing the plant's dependence on the local power grid. This reduction has the potential to yield up to an 80% decrease in carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) emissions and a projected 58% decrease in natural gas offsets. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2019.

"With our new cogeneration capabilities, we've estimated that our Irwindale plant will reduce its CO2-e emissions by approximately 6,000 metric tons, which is equivalent to more than 1,200 vehicles being driven for one year," says Mathew Caldwell, senior manager of corporate social responsibility. "We continue to work with key industry partners to improve our operational energy performance, and we believe this is the right technology to reduce our carbon footprint – a critical component of achieving our corporate social responsibility objectives."

Bonduelle's corporate social responsibility objectives for 2025 include reducing environmental impacts; encouraging employees to take part in CSR efforts; feeding people and feeding them sustainably; promoting sustainable agriculture; and ensuring the well-being of employees and communities. To date, Bonduelle Fresh Americas has:

  • Deployed a cross-functional waste management team to address the challenge of food and industrial waste across the company's value chain. 
  • Created a packaging task force to identify ways to reduce the total amount of plastics used, transition to more recyclable products, increase percentages of post-consumer recycled content and educate consumers on recycling to promote circularity.
  • Achieved a 25% reduction in water consumption at its Florence, N.J., plant through employee awareness and targeted equipment updates.
  • Donated more than 660,000 meals to food banks, community charities and disaster relief efforts in 2018.

Bonduelle Fresh Americas was named Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ 2019 Refrigerated Foods Processor of the Year, January 2019 issue.