Kraft Heinz - WI

Award-Winning Advancements for Iconic Staple.

The Kraft Heinz Company is one of the world’s largest food and beverage companies. Kraft Heinz was looking to improve productivity at its Wausau, WI, plant and 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, and later becoming popular during World War II as milk and dairy product rations increased, the demand for meatless meals became a growing need. Recently, the company elected to modernize and improve its current Kraft Mac and Cheese recipe to provide “Blue Box” lovers with a better experience. The result required facility and equipment improvements to support the new initiative.


Spec Engineering provided bulk bag unloaders, a liquid cheese cook room, 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 lbs. per hour 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 in the CIP sanitation system in Wausau. Spec Engineering installed it at the Wisconsin plant in December 2020 – making this facility upgrade even more critical with the demand for extended shelf-life food increasing drastically once the pandemic and stay-at-home orders affected U.S. consumers. In addition, Spec Engineering performed the installation for the new equipment and processes in four new rooms within the facility, without disrupting any existing operations.


Throughout the improvements, Spec Engineering looked for opportunities and took extra steps to anticipate and reduce potential waste. For instance, near the bulk bag unloaders, an integrated dust collector was added to each discharger to 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.

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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. "
Brian Bernard, President, Spec Engineering, A Gray Company

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