"Frito-Lay's "Zero Landfill" plan helped it earn "most innovative company" accolades fromFast Companymagazine. Editor Bob Garrison profiles six more intriguing and innovative operations inRefrigerated & Frozen Foods’10th annual “Food Plants of the Year” feature.
The most “innovative” food and beverage processor? Is it a company with a jaw-dropping new approach to marketing? Or perhaps someone with a revolutionary new product?
Not so fast. Actually,Fast Companymagazine just listed the “World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies” and when it came to the top 10 food companies, Frito-Lay North America Inc. took top honors. Why? The answer involves Frito-Lay’s approach to operations.
“The snack giant moved one-third of its 32 plants to ‘zero landfill’ last year – the rest will achieve that goal by the end of 2011,” wrote the editors. “Who knew snack chips could be so earth-friendly?”
Of course, Frito-Lay isn’t the only one making news for sustainability. Likewise,Fast Companyisn’t the only one recognizing the importance of operations. This isRefrigerated & Frozen Foods’10th annual “Food Plants of the Year” feature and it’s been particularly fulfilling this year to profile our honorees. There are four compelling story lines.
Although sustainability has been a discussion topic for years, we can now point to tangible actions and achievements. We’re honored to share some award-winning stories from Keystone Foods and Gill’s Onions. Gill’s, in fact, is drawing worldwide interest for an entirely new technology.
Details that deliver:
ConAgra Foods’ Council Bluffs, Iowa, plant is driving true growth from within by fine-tuning its processing for optimal efficiency. ConAgra and Wells’ Dairy (as well as Kahiki Foods, featured last year), are taking continuous improvement to a new level. The ultimate goal: run so efficiently that employees spend more time improving operations and less time dealing with problems.
It’s not often that corporate engineers get the opportunity to create the ultimate food plant – where they can design in features that accent environmental improvements plus productivity and versatility. There’s a new generation of facilities coming on line (Heinz will soon be next) and McCain Foods Canada gives us a glimpse inside its new Florenceville, N.B., site.
Several foreign companies are quietly opening new U.S. plants that are quite unique in their approach to products and processing. Here’s a case where I don’t want to name names – because I want to be the first to bring you these stories! That said, we’re pleased to honor Lantmännen Unibake USA, whose Swedish parent has applied its European knowledge and technologies to a St. Petersburg, Fla., bakery – acquired in 2008.
Sustainability is sexy
By Bob Garrison
Bob Garrison came in from the cold. A founding editor of BNP Media's Refrigerated & Frozen Foods (R&FF) Bob has profiled industry-leading companies, explored corporate strategies and covered food product development trends at more than 150 leading private and CPG companies since 1989. He has chronicled the histories of leading brands and businesses, including Gorton's, ConAgra Frozen Foods (Banquet) and Swanson's frozen TV dinners. He also has interviewed or profiled such food industry leaders as Mike Harper (ConAgra), Don Tyson and frozen bagel icon Murray Lender.