Plainfield, IL., March 4, 2021 – ProFood World, a leading food & beverage manufacturing publication, has awarded Kraft Heinz a 2021 Manufacturing Innovation Award for their modernized equipment system of a new cheese formulation in Wausau, WI. This building expansion improves the cheese formulation for the iconic blue box Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.
After Gray’s successful completion of the award-winning Kraft Heinz plant in Davenport, Iowa, Kraft Heinz selected Spec Engineering, A Gray Company for a modernization of the Wausau facility’s dry ingredient bulk bag unloaders, liquid cheese cook room, and drying and blending room, along with a Clean-in-Place (CIP) sanitation system. The new equipment increases production rates from 7,000 lbs. per hour to 10,000 lbs. per hour. The system also provides a safer and more ergonomic environment for operators.
“Our employees on the front lines, including those in Wausau, have been working hard to meet the increased demand for our products and to make sure American consumers have the food they need and want to feed their families,” said Mitch Arends, senior vice president of U.S. Operations and Manufacturing for The Kraft Heinz Company. “Year over year, the popularity of our iconic brands – like Kraft Macaroni & Cheese – has grown, with further capacity pressure caused by the recent pandemic. Our partnership with Spec Engineering demonstrates our commitment to safely and efficiently increasing our output while also keeping the wellbeing of our employees top of mind.”
The project began near the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, making this facility upgrade even more critical with the demand for extended shelf-life food increasing drastically. Spec Engineering collaborated with Kraft Heinz to ensure the current production line was not disrupted during the installation of four major rooms of new equipment and processes.
“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,” says Brian R. Bernard, president of Spec Engineering. “We are thrilled to see this deserving project be recognized for a Manufacturing Innovation Award.”
The Manufacturing Innovation Awards will be presented at PACK Expo Las Vegas in September 2021. These awards, occurring annually for five years, recognize outstanding food and beverage processing and packaging innovation projects involving greenfield plants, expansion and renovation projects, or line upgrades.
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