JBS Prepared Foods – Principe Food Facility Named Food Engineering’s 2024 Plant of the Year

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (February 20, 2024) — The JBS Prepared Foods Principe facility in Columbia, Missouri, has been awarded the prestigious title of Food Plant of the Year by Food Engineering magazine. This recognition underscores the innovative strides made by the global food company in partnership with Stellar, a leading design-build firm, to create a production facility for premium Italian cured meats and charcuterie. JBS Prepared Foods – Principe was awarded the Plant of the Year recognition after a comprehensive evaluation of the company’s automation strategy, processing and packaging lines, and supply chain management plans.

The Principe facility, which specializes in producing salami, pepperoni, prosciutto, pancetta, and coppa products, is an impressive modern-day food production plant spanning over 315,000 square feet on 80 acres of land.

The $200 million greenfield project, led by Stellar as the plant’s design-build partner, harnesses state-of-the-art automation and technology to enhance the production and efficiency of Italian meats. To maintain the brand’s high quality and food safety standards, the plant conducts thorough inspections of raw materials and employs precise automated blending, stuffing and forming processes.

“We started this project strongly committed to delivering the best possible outcome. We focused on ensuring a seamless product flow throughout the plant, from manufacturing to packaging, using strategic equipment layouts and cutting-edge technology, such as automated guided vehicles (AGVs), gantry robots and conveyors, to achieve this,” said Jim Oko, Vice President of Project Development at Stellar. “Winning this project is a testament to the dedication and expertise of the combined teams.”

The project represents the blend of tradition and innovation at the heart of Principe’s 75-year legacy as an industry leader in delivering quality sliced meats. Noting the absence of a legitimate Italian meats facility in the United States, the owners sought to establish a new tradition that would honor Principe’s Italian heritage, provide authentic Italian products to the United States, and integrate well into the local community in Columbia.

“In a year that saw many impressive projects, being chosen as the winning project for Food Plant of the Year is a gratifying achievement. I am immensely proud of our team’s resilience and ability to overcome challenges, especially considering the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic during construction,” said Joe Machetta, Head of Operations for JBS USA Prepared Foods. “This award is a testament to our collective effort and showcases the incredible results possible through teamwork and perseverance. We are thrilled and grateful for this prestigious recognition, which only motivates us to continue pushing the boundaries of innovation in our industry.”

Food Engineering will showcase the plant in its April cover story, and the award will be formally presented at the annual Food Automation & Manufacturing Symposium and Expo next month in Bonita Springs, Florida.

About Stellar

Stellar is a fully integrated design, engineering, construction, refrigeration and mechanical services firm serving commercial, industrial and public sector markets across the United States and around the world. More than 750 Stellar employees worldwide create award-winning food processing plants, refrigerated warehouses, distribution centers, commercial buildings and military facilities. In addition to its Jacksonville, Florida, headquarters, Stellar operates nearly 50 support locations and offices throughout the United States. For more information, visit www.stellar.net.

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