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BONDUELLE invents the plant of the future: the zero energy loss objective

4. Environment

Energy / Greenhouse Gases (GHG)


For many years now, the Bonduelle Group has put great effort into its comprehensive commitment to Sustainable Development. The company is searching for ways to optimise the use of energy in its industrial processes.


  • To use water and energy more efficiently
  • To keep pushing the bar in terms of product quality and cost-effectiveness.


A typical Bonduelle plant is running 24/7, producing heat to sterilize products and cold to freeze them or keep them fresh. As such, energy consumption is a very important concern. Bonduelle spends an average of 2 to 6 million euros a year to reduce the environmental impact of its water and energy consumption, and has set its sights on achieving zero energy loss by 2025 through recycling and efficiencies.

In order to work on these challenges, between 2009 and 2012 Bonduelle led the Usine Sobre® project, in partnership with EDF and the École des Mines de Paris, and with the support of the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME). 

The project used the EMR (Minimum Required Energy) method—which focuses not just on the quantity of energy but also its quality—to estimate the "ideal" energy consumption for different product conversion processes. The method works by re-examining all vegetable conversion and storage processes, as well as peripheral energy needs.

Recognizing that heat exchange occurs very frequently in the agri-food industry, the method takes inspiration from pinch technology, which looks for "pinch points" between the energy needed for cooling (e.g., after blanching the vegetables) and the energy needed for heating (sterilizing the tins, etc.). 

The Usine Sobre® project proceeded in 3 stages: 

  • consumption mapping
  • identification of optimization options
  • establishment of technical solutions to reach the minimum energy level for each process

And in 3 pilot plants in France:

  • Vaulx-Vraucourt in the Hauts-de-France region (storage process)
  • Bordères in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region (freezing and storage processes)
  • Saint-Mihiel in the Grand-Est region (cooling process)

The project developed solutions for: 

  • ascertaining the site's energy consumption patterns (an energy map was developed to manage energy usage in the plants)
  • identifying avenues for optimizing the equipment in place
  • prioritizing optimization options, focusing first on the most energy-intensive devices, then on the site as a whole
  • designing innovative energy management systems (e.g., the Start & Stop project)
  • launching disruptive technology projects for the most energy-intensive processes (R&D projects)

In 2011, the San Paolo d'Argon plant, located in the Bergame province of Italy, was designed according to the principles of the Usine Sobre® project, emphasizing energy efficiency and flow optimization.


  • Competitive advantage
  • Acquisition of know-how, as recognized by the plants' ISO 50 001 certification 
  • Improved quality: less energy leads to less product degradation


  • Competitive advantage
  • Acquisition of know-how, as recognized by the plants' ISO 50 001 certification 
  • Improved quality: less energy leads to less product degradation
(2018-2019) : 14 589 collaborateurs
(2018-2019) : 2 777 millions deuros


Rue Nicolas Appert
BP 30173


Anne-Sophie Ketterer, chargée de mission RSE, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mise à jour le 20/09/2018

Creative Commons Attribution This work by Réseau Alliances – World Forum Lille is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.