posted by William R. Stott
Published: March 03, 2009
Potato Chip manufacturer Kettle Foods of Beloit, WI has received a 2008 Manufacturer of the Year Grand Award in the category of Sustainability from Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, a 4,000-member Wisconsin business association.
The 21st annual Manufacturer of the Year Awards recognize Wisconsin companies that demonstrate a commitment to business excellence, which has a positive impact on the company and the state, making Wisconsin a better place to live, work and play, according to WMC's press release. "Manufacturers are the backbone of the Wisconsin economy, and when manufacturing is strong other industries will have strong paths as well," said Timothy L. Christen, CEO of Virchow, Krause & Company, LLP, the awards' co-sponsor. “These companies demonstrate that Wisconsin manufacturers have the can-do spirit to make things in Wisconsin and create jobs for years to come.”
New to this year’s program was the Sustainability Grand Award, presented to a manufacturer that demonstrated a commitment to and successfully implemented sustainable manufacturing practices that are environmentally and economically sound. Special Awards were presented to three companies for achieving excellence in a particular area. The Special Award categories were determined by the judges based on information provided in the nomination forms.
Kettle Foods' sustainability efforts include the use company vehicles powered by biodiesel. "We use our cooking oil twice," the Kettle Foods website boasts. The company sends all its used sunflower and saffron cooking oil to a recycling facility, where the oil is converted into biodiesel.
The company installed 18 wind turbines on the factory roof, which generate enough electricity to manufacture 56,000 bags of potato chips per year. In addition, Kettle Foods purchases enough wind energy credits to offset 100% of its U.S. electricity needs.
The Beloit factory earned a LEED Gold Certification in 2007.