Kraft Heinz, WI

Award-Winning Innovation for Iconic Kitchen Staple.

The Kraft Heinz Company is one of the world’s largest food and beverage companies. Seeking to improve productivity at its Wausau, WI, plant, the customer selected Spec Engineering, a Gray company, as its partner.

  • Location
    Wausau, WI
Kraft Heinz, WI
Wausau, WI

Reformulation to Modernize Brand


For more than 84 years, Kraft Heinz has been serving up its iconic powdered, make-at-home macaroni and cheese. Originally designed with a long shelf life in mind during the Great Depression, it later becoming popular during World War II as milk and dairy product rations increased and the demand for meatless meals increased.


Recently, the company elected to modernize its current Kraft Mac and Cheese recipe to provide “Blue Box” lovers with a better experience. The improvement project required facility and equipment upgrades to support the new initiative.


Spec Engineering provided bulk bag unloaders, a liquid cheese cook room, and drying and blending room, in addition to a clean-in-place (CIP) sanitation system. This process flow drastically improved efficiency at the facility, increasing production rates from 7,000 to 10,000 lbs. per hour. Learn more about the services Spec Engineering executed to modernize the Kraft Heinz operations here.

Unique Challenges


Even before Operations’ leaders at Kraft Heinz learned COVID-19 was on its way to the United States, they made a significant investment for a new CIP sanitation system in Wausau. Spec Engineering installed the system at the Wisconsin plant in December 2020. Soon after, the pandemic’s U.S. onset and the subsequent stay-at-home orders for consumers saw a dramatic increase in demand for products with extended shelf lives, making the Wausau facility upgrade even more critical. Spec Engineering performed the new equipment and process installation without disrupting existing operations, allowing Kraft Heinz to continue production to meet the increased demand.


Throughout the improvements, Spec Engineering took extra steps to anticipate and reduce potential waste, such as adding an integrated dust collector to each discharger near the bulk bag unloaders, which helped control dust migration and product loss by discharging collected dust back into the process.

Award-Winning Project


Due to the successful achievement of the multi-line expansion, the project was awarded a Manufacturing Innovation Award by ProFood World, a leading food and beverage manufacturing publication.


Prior to this project, Gray also successfully partnered with Kraft Heinz on an award-winning facility in Davenport, IA.


Innovation Opens New Chapter for Facility

Gray company Spec Engineering teamed with Kraft Heinz for another award-winning project.

A Winning Partnership

Spec Improves Production Efficiency for Kraft Heinz Plant

Spec Engineering, a Gray company, provided design and process equipment integration for a multi-line expansion and new clean-in-place sanitation system.

Learn More

Explore Services

  • Process & Packaging Systems Engineering

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  • Automation & Controls

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  • Custom equipment Ovens & cookers
    Process skids Batching equipment
    Clean-in-place systems Bioreactors
    Extruders Distributed products
    Mixers & blenders
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"The innovative culture established by the Kraft Heinz plant personnel and leadership truly empowered the Spec design team to deliver innovative solutions throughout the project. "

About Gray

Gray is a fully integrated global service provider specializing in engineering, design, construction, digital, equipment manufacturing, and real estate services.