Green manufacturing

Bob Shearer recognizes that, in today’s world, it is not enough to simply make a great snack food — sustainability counts for a lot, as well. Shearer, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Shearer’s Foods Inc., led his snack-food manufacturing organization through a series of innovations so that the company could reduce its carbon footprint.

Shearer invested $20 million in the world’s first platinum-certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) snack-food manufacturing site. The certification is the highest certification awarded by the United States Green Building Council, and the project created 61 full-time positions at the company. In addition, the project brought 268 construction and contractor jobs to the site. The company relied on local construction, contracting and engineering businesses to build the new facility. The site, in Massillon, far exceeds the energy design requirements laid out by the U.S. Green Building Council. The total gas and electric energy reductions are more than 30 percent over the standard.

Another point of pride for the company is a new tortilla chip manufacturing line that reduced the energy consumption by 16 percent. Shearer recognized the potential to capture the wasted heat used to cook the chips and pretzels, so the company collaborated with PSI Engineering and designed a system to capture wasted energy from the fryer stacks and oven. The collected energy is then recycled through a liquid chimney back into the building. This recycled energy can supply 90 percent of the building’s heat load.

Another important aspect to Shearer is that all of his associates know why it is important to make investments in sustainability. So he educated his employee base — the Brown Flynn Group came in to train associates on sustainability in all areas of the business.

The company is dedicated to the development of energy-efficient equipment. Production capacity for the new site sold quickly, so expect Shearer’s plans to expand further. The company is also working to achieve LEED certification for its other site in Brewster.

How to reach: Shearer’s Foods Inc., (330) 767-3426 or