Food Processing Awards Kettle Foods Green Plant of the Year

Kettle Foods in Beloit, Wis. receives the first ever Green Plant of the Year Award for making a greener potato chip.

By Kate Bertrand Connolly, Packaging Editor

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The Other Nominees

We had three other very worthy projects on our ballot for Green Plant of the Year:

Contessa Premium Foods: Los Angeles
The Contessa Green Cuisine plant is the world's first "green" frozen food manufacturing plant certified by the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) New Construction green building rating system. The plant has achieved Gold-level certification.

Using advanced design, cutting-edge technology and innovative processes, the Contessa Green Cuisine organic-certified plant operates 24/7 and reduces its daily energy use and CO2 emissions by 65 percent (relative to

1990 Kyoto Protocol baseline standards). Special features include:

  • A solar-power array to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 730,000 pounds each year.
  • A water preheating system that takes heat from refrigeration compressors and re-uses it for boilers that cook rice and pasta, as well to preheat water for sanitation purposes.
  • A loading dock that prevents the loss of refrigerated air, thereby reducing temperature fluctuation and energy use.
  • Variable frequency drives to optimize the amount of power supplied to all motors. 
  • Using the same amount of energy, the Contessa Green Cuisine plant produces three times more product than a conventional operation.

Faribault Foods: Faribault, Minn.
Faribault Foods working with contractors designed and installed an energy-saving heat and water recovery system retrofit for our bean cannery in Faribault, Minn. The project was completed in November 2009.

Initially, the plant accounted for roughly 21 percent of the city's water use and 20 percent of sewer flow, and was one of Xcel Energy's largest-natural gas customers.

The company and its project partners developed a system to recover and reuse 100 percent of the process heat, allowing Faribault Foods to decrease its heat-energy per can by 25 percent, decrease water use by 20 percent and sewer flow by 25 percent, and account for 13 percent of Xcel Energy's business customers' natural gas savings in 2009. In addition, the system reduces the plant's water usage by nearly 100 million gallons per year. The impact of the natural gas savings accounts for a reduction of 3,030 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, or roughly the equivalent of removing 579 cars from the road. The water savings would provide the water for roughly 4,000 average homes annually.

Project partners also included Thermo Environmental Systems, Campbell Sevey, Cedar Lake Electric, Faribo Plumbing and Met-Con Construction.

This project has been awarded:

  • The 2010 Xcel Energy Efficiency Award for the largest natural gas reduction in Minnesota, a total of 38.7 percent since 2007.
  • The 2010 Environmental Initiative Award for "Green Business and Environmental Management."
  • The 2010 Environmental Initiative Award for "Partnership of the Year."

Nestlé Waters North America: Breinigsville, Pa.
This Nestlé Pure Life water bottling facility received the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification; the first food manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania to receive LEED Gold status. Thanks to its environmentally conscious design, the facility:

  • Saves 9.9 billion BTUs of energy each year, which is enough energy to heat 125 homes for a season.
  • Conserves approximately 220,000 gallons of water a year, which is 55 percent better than the EPA requirement.
  • Reduced construction waste by approximately 75 percent, or the equivalent weight of 2,300 cars.

In addition, the facility will offset its energy usage for two years through its Renewable Energy Certificate purchase from Choose Renewables, which will allow the facility to displace its non-renewable sources of energy from the electric grid and instead fund wind power operations.

Sustainability is an integral part of Nestlé Waters' business. The company has taken steps to reduce CO2 emissions, lightweight bottles, reduce water consumption and more. To date, Nestlé Waters has the most LEED-certified facilities of any U.S. food and beverage manufacturer. The company has nine manufacturing plants with more than 3.5 million square feet designed and built to meet LEED certification.

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