Home » Gray Construction-led factory in Iowa honored as Food Engineering’s Plant of the Year

Gray Construction-led factory in Iowa honored as Food Engineering’s Plant of the Year


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 9, 2018) – Food Engineering, a leading food and beverage processing publication, has named Kraft Heinz’s new factory in Davenport, Ia., the 2018 Plant of the Year. The state-of-the-art meat processing and packaging facility, designed and built by Lexington-based Gray Construction, is the first greenfield construction project for The Kraft Heinz Company since the landmark merging of Kraft Foods Group and H.J. Heinz Company in 2015.

“We’ve invested more than $1.5 billion over the past couple years to upgrade our global manufacturing facilities, including more than $225 million to build a new state-of-the-art facility in Davenport, Ia.,” said Michael Mullen, senior vice president of Corporate & Government Affairs for The Kraft Heinz Company. “The ongoing demand from consumers for our brands made the new factory a priority. Designed with the future in mind, this new plant provides manufacturing flexibility as well as more efficient production capabilities. This investment demonstrates our long-term commitment to producing Oscar Mayer products in the Davenport/Quad Cities area.”

Kraft Heinz selected nationally ranked Gray Construction to design and build its 382,000-square foot facility on 70 acres in the Eastern Iowa Industrial Center. The new, highly automated Davenport plant went from foundation to first production in 14 months and produces millions of pounds of iconic Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh and Lunchables products to satisfy customers across the United States.

“We are excited to hear the Davenport facility is being recognized for the state-of-the-art-facility it is,” said Stephen Gray, president and CEO of Gray Construction. “It’s been an honor to have worked with Kraft Heinz on such a milestone project.”

Food Engineering awards the most innovative new food or beverage plant built in North America each year. Many factors are analyzed as part of the judging criteria, including the plant’s contribution to long-term business strategy, the level of innovation in processing and packaging line design, food safety elements, building and site innovations, and the productive integration of workers.

“Food Engineering Magazine is very pleased to honor Kraft Heinz’s Davenport, Ia., facility as the 2018 Food Plant of the Year. Due to the level of automation employed, as well as hygienic design elements and the innovation present in the processing and packaging lines, the Kraft Heinz plant truly is an example of the future food factory built today,” said Debra Schug, editor in chief, Food Engineering.

The new Davenport facility replaced an existing facility in the Quad Cities area that had been owned and operated by Kraft Heinz since 1946. The plant was built from the ground up to be a highly automated, modern manufacturing facility. Flexibility is built into the new facility’s design and layout to allow for any necessary adjustments that would support future platforms and growth.

Gray Construction is a nationally ranked engineering, architecture and construction firm with nearly 60 years of experience in food and beverage, manufacturing, automotive, distribution and retail facility construction. Currently, Gray has several large projects that are under way or recently completed including: world-class DogStar® Kitchens for Champion Petfoods in Auburn, Ky., as well as custom-fitted NorthStar® Kitchens for Champion in Alberta, Canada; a fresh pork processing facility in Coldwater, Mi., for Clemens Food Group; an award-winning bakery for Mondelēz International’s Enjoy Life Foods in Jeffersonville, In.; and a snack food manufacturing facility for More Than A Bakery in Versailles, Ky.

For more information on Gray, visit www.gray.com.