Berner Foods

"If our energy efficiency consumption wasn't done economically and done right, we wouldn't be able to grow jobs and install new equipment."

Food and beverage company sees double digit growth, hires 150 employees

Berner Foods and Beverage, Inc. is a leading private label supplier of food and beverage products, ranging from dips, coffee beverages, energy drinks to cheese sauces. The 70-year-old family-owned business in Dakota, IL works with major retailers, including Wal-Mart, Target and ALDI.

Because of demanding and rapidly changing industry requirements and standards, Berner saw energy efficiency as the key to ensuring product safety and market competitiveness, achieving optimal run rates, keeping operating costs down and their customers’ costs down and ultimately, helping Berner to grow their business.

energySMART worked with Berner to devise a well-executed energy-saving plan to lower operating costs and maintain high standards mandated by the Food and Drug administration for dairy products. The incentives available through energySMART were crucial in helping the plan move forward.

Berner performed a study on their steam boiler operations at the DaKota plant. The data presented opportunity for Berner to achieve two goals---increase boiler efficiency and lower operating costs. Over two years, the following enhancements were made to the boiler systems:

  • Flue gas economizer—This unit is designed to capture stack heat and saves approximately 130,000 therms per year.
  • Blow down heat exchanger—This unit extracts heat from boiler blow down water and saves approximately 20,000 therms per year.
  • Waste condensate heat exchanger—This unit captures heat from condensate that cannot be returned to the feed water tank. Improvements made to the return condensate piping and the steam traps allow more hot water return to the feed water tank. Savings are approximately 28,000 therms per year.
  • Vent condenser for the deaerator—This unit extracts heat from the steam vent on the deaerator and preheats the make-up water and saves approximately 2,000 therms per year.

*Note that heat captured by the equipment is used to preheat the boiler feed water.

“If our energy efficiency consumption wasn’t done economically and done right, we wouldn’t be able to grow jobs and install new equipment,” Paul said.

With the help of energySMART, Berner Foods has grown its business, created jobs and taken steps toward its sustainability objectives.

“We’ve experienced double digit growth over the last six years. In 2011, we had 200 people on the shop floor. Now we have about 350 people,” Paul said. “And that growth can be correlated to having the right equipment utilizing the right amount of energy. People wise—we continue to grow. Production wise—we also continue to grow. And this growth is largely due to our energy efficiency strategy.”