CHICAGO — Conagra Brands took home four of the six sustainability awards presented by ProFood World on the opening day of Pack Expo 2022, which runs Oct. 23-26 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

The yearly peer-reviewed Sustainability Excellence in Manufacturing Awards reward manufacturing plants that have improved performance through sustainability. Criteria include pollution prevention and compliance assurance among others.

“Since the Sustainability Excellence in Manufacturing Awards launched in 2014, some 100 or so different programs have participated,” said Steve Schlegel, co-founder of the FSO Institute, an organization dedicated to building communities of companies focused on optimizing manufacturing health in the food industry.

The awards are presented in two categories: Program (an ongoing project, companywide or multi-facility program) and Project (a one-time project).

Program category:

First place: Conagra Brands (Chicago): Tomato and Jalapeno Waste Reduction.

Second place: Bob’s Red Mill Natural Products (Milwaukie, Ore.): Wasted Food Rescue and Materials Management.

Third place: Conagra Brands: MEGA Pizza Yield Improvement.

Project Category: 

First place: Conagra Brands: Saving Water for the Future.

Second place: Smithfield Foods (Smithfield, Va.): Reusable Combos.

Third place: Conagra Brands: Blast Cell Air Optimization.

In accepting all four awards for Conagra Brands, David Bauman, senior director, design engineering, highlighted one of his company’s sustainability accomplishments.

“Our Troy, Ohio, plant updated its visual standards, lightening water standard tolerances and centerlining paste delivery, which eliminated 267,000 lbs of food waste,” he said. “This resulted in $326,000 in savings with no up-front capital required.”

Submissions for next year’s awards are due by March 1, 2023. Programs and projects must be completed and operational between November 2021 and December 2022.

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