Champion Petfoods USA Inc. DogStar Kitchens

Shared Values, Vision Launch Long-Term Relationship.

Champion Petfoods Inc. is a worldwide leader in producing high quality, award-winning dog and cat foods. When it came time to select a partner for its first U.S. location, Champion chose Gray to design and build their new kitchens.

  • Location
    Auburn, KY
  • Square Footage
    371,100 s.f.
  • Operational
    14 months
Champion Petfoods USA Inc. DogStar Kitchens
Auburn, KY
371,100 s.f.
14 months
"As we built a relationship with Gray what’s been evident to us is, they live their vision and values in every situation. So we see them interacting with other companies and other customers, we see their involvement in the community, and I think that further solidifies that we made a great decision and that we have a partner that we can work with into the future. "
Frank Burdzy, Former President and CEO

Champion Petfoods

“The design-build of DogStar Kitchens is something that we are extremely proud of, and its success would not have been possible without our partnership with Gray,” said Frank Burdzy, former president and CEO of Champion Petfoods.

Modern Food Processing at its Best


Champion Petfoods places a priority on quality with its products and valued Gray’s similar commitment to quality in the design and construction of facilities. This 371,000 s.f. operation was purpose-built from the ground up to advance Champion’s Biologically Appropriate™, Fresh Regional Ingredient, and Never Outsourced mission.


Before DogStar was complete, Champion also asked Gray to add a third production line in order to further its mandate and keep up with growing demand in the U.S. and Latin America. The overall operation features custom-designed kitchens for the company’s award-winning dog and cat food brands, ACANA and ORIJEN.


The kitchens also include state-of-the-art technology designed to optimize the process and are outfitted with a custom-built twin extruder that is the first of its kind in North America. DogStar is engineered and designed to meet the same food safety standards required for the manufacturing of human foods. To ensure quality, connection through Allen Bradley hard and software systems allows all cooking data from start to finish to be displayed in the kitchen control center in real time.


Clean-In-Place (CIP), an automated cleaning system, which ensures the proper time, temperature, and turbulence for cleaning, is utilized throughout the operation.


The state-of-the-art DogStar Kitchens were designed, constructed, and commissioned by Gray in just 14 months—from 0% design to 100% test runs of new recipes.

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"We developed the WINK (Window into the Kitchen) system collaboratively with Champion. This was a first for Gray. We had never provided a turnkey, process automation scope of services to a customer. We knew it had to be purpose-built, specifically for Champion, for their application, and their kitchens, to make the best pet food in the world. "
Randolph Wilson, Vice President, Strategy & Innovation

Gray Solutions

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