Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Lifestyles

October 25, 2012

Bringing flavor to life

CROSSVILLE — Mustard is a happy food. From ballparks to backyards, the condiment has brought smiles to old and young alike as they top their sandwiches, burgers and hot dogs.

But you might not know that much of the mustard found on the store shelf may originate in Crossville at Mizkan, the leading manufacturer of specialty vinegars, mustards, cooking wines, Asian sauces and dressing, and other liquid condiments.

“Mizkan wants to own the refrigerator door,” said Mike Nuss, regional director of manufacturing for Mikzan Americas, Inc..

The Crossville location makes and bottles 1,000 tons of mustard each month. Most are bottled into private label brands, the store brands found in many supermarket chains.

“Many stores take great pride in their store labels, and the quality specifications are stringent,” he said.

The company employs 78 people operating 20 hours a day, six days a week. They’d run seven days a week, but the vinegar line must be cleaned thoroughly after bottling wine vinegars on the weekends to prepare for the Kosher vinegar bottled through the week.

That’s been a pretty steady amount of work for the employees, Nuss said, thanks in part to the recession.

“When 2008 happened, consumers started changing their buying preferences,” Nuss explained. “Now people are buying private label brands and saving money and it provided an opportunity for us to flourish.”

Mizkan began as Indian Summer in Crossville, purchasing land in 1987 and opening in 1990 with about 50,000 square feet. Indian Summer produced apple juice and vinegar. Mustard was added in 1993. Apple juice production was discontinued in 1997. During the time, the name changed from Indian Summer to Nakano Foods to Mizkan Americas. Today, the plant occupies 110,000 square feet of space, much of it warehouse space, and utilizes other warehouse space offsite in Crossville.

There are five bulk and bottling plants in the United States for Mizkan, where the product is made and bottled for distribution. Nuss said the Crossville location is the highest producing plant in the company with more than 5.4 million cases produced annually.

“The associates here and the operation here is exceptional,” Nuss said. “It sets the standard.”

Nuss bragged on the employees, saying they were highly efficient. The key to that is communicating company goals and processes, and letting them know how each can positively impact the bottom line. Delegating also helps provide a feeling of ownership, and there is a focus on self-directed, self-managed teams. The company also provides competitive pay rates and retirement and health benefits to employees.

“Our employees are the reason for our strong growth,” Nuss said. “We hope they appreciate the stability we offer and won’t job hop.”

Safety and quality are top concerns. The plant has gone more than 150 days without a lost time work accident, and has had only one OSHA recordable event this fiscal year, which runs from March to February.

There is also a focus on perfect order completion, ensuring the customer receives what they ordered, delivered when they want it and how they want it packaged.

The food products have busy seasons, with vinegar consumption highest beginning at Easter, and mustard peaking in the summer. Nuss said the plant will build up an excess of vinegar leading up to the busy system, but the increase in sales at that time will wipe out that extra inventory.

But buyers need to know that they can get the products they need, and building up that inventory is vital to providing on-time orders without interruption. The Mizkan plants also provide redundancy so that should a plant need to go offline for a period of time, customers will still be served.

Making the products takes time, especially vinegar. Making vinegar takes about 50 hours, using 195 grain alcohol, acetobacter, nutrients, controlling oxygen levels and temperature, and letting chemistry do the work. Seven acetators are used, and are under constant supervision to control the process. When complete, two-thirds of the vinegar produced is discharged from the acetators to be used for bottling for consumers or shipped to other manufacturers as a food ingredient. The remainder is kept to seed the next batch of vinegar.

“Everything has vinegar in it, from frozen foods to ketchup to salad dressing,” Nuss said.

Mizkan produces about 13 million gallons of vinegar each year, with half of that bottled for retail customers and half sold as a food ingredient.

The volume of white distilled vinegar produced in Crossville also makes it an ideal location to produce mustard. While the main mustard product at the Crossville location is yellow mustard, made with mustard seed, vinegar, water, salt, paprika and turmeric, the plant also produces some specialty mustards, including spicy brown and horseradish. It also recently began producing dijon and honey mustards.

New equipment has helped the company reduce its waste and save money, with a packaging line using cardboard trays instead of full boxes, and highly efficient lighting that not only cost lest to operate, but are cooler and provide brighter work areas.

The company also installed a waste water pretreatment system in 2007 because it was growing faster than the city of Crossville’s wastewater system could handle. The company invested $1.7 million in the system that pretreats wastewater before it enters the city’s system, saving the city wastewater capacity.

1
Text Only
Lifestyles
  • 8-8 counseling center-play with dolls.jpg Christian Counseling Center celebrating 12 years

    Help the Christian Counseling Center of Cumberland County (C5) celebrate 12 years of community service. Dine at Ruby Tuesday of Crossville Aug. 8, 9 or 10. Print the flyer from the center’s website, www.cccotp.org, and give it to the server.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • A Time 4 Paws collecting shoes to help Soles4Souls in fight against global poverty

    Attention anyone with a closet! Those shoes no longer wanted are desperately needed to fight the human tragedy of global poverty.

    July 24, 2014

  • Parkinson’s therapies help patients live big and loud

    Parkinson’s disease has famously affected the lives of celebrities like Michael J. Fox and Muhammad Ali. But whether a person with Parkinson’s is world famous or a next-door neighbor, new therapies are offering hope for a better quality of life.

    July 22, 2014

  • 8-5 CATS in Palace-Carole Jarboe Cullen - waterfall.jpg Local art event planned at CATS

    Plans are being made for an event sponsored by the CATS Gallery at the Palace Theatre, 72 South Main St., Crossville, Tuesday, Aug. 5, beginning at 6 p.m. There will be refreshments, music and an opportunity to view a performance painting by artist Chuck Jensen. A live auction of donated art pieces will begin at 7:30 p.m. with the opportunity to "Be a Cool Cat — Buy Local Art." There is free admission, but it is advisable to get a free ticket at the CATS Gallery in the middle section of the Crossville Mall, at the Palace Theatre or from any participating member of CATS. During the event, original art items including paintings, photographs, and jewelry will be offered for auction, such as this expressive waterfall painting by Carole Cullen.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Marriage licenses (Published July 23, 2014)

    July 22, 2014

  • fair park.jpg Heritage demonstrators welcome

    Most of Americans today never stop to think how different our lives would have been several hundred years ago. How many times a day do we wash our hands, and do we ever realize when we take those hot showers and lather up, the long all-day process our ancestors had to go through just to make a bar of soap? Not to mention packing water to the house and heating it up over a wood fire just to have a bath and wash clothes. Times are changing faster than ever.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • pleasant hill ramblings.jpg Mathes restores a bit of Pleasant Hill's history

    Miss Alice Adshead, RN, created a “wilderness trail” through the woods just down the hill from Uplands Sanatorium, the first hospital in Cumberland County once located on Main St. in Pleasant Hill.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • plateau gardening-hydrangeas5117.jpg Prune flowering shrubs: now or wait until February?

    Experts say, “Don’t prune woody-stemmed plants (shrubs, trees and some types of vines) after mid-August.” Do pay close attention to that advice. The purpose of this late-season pruning prohibition is to keep plants healthy.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • IMG_1850.jpg Burgess Falls offers a big payoff for a short hike

    At Burgess Falls, you can be out of your car and taking in the breathtaking view of the Falling Water River as it falls 136 feet in the third and final drop of the river with just a short walk through the woods.
    But even though the state park is close to civilization, this natural wonder retains its wild and scenic reputation.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo 19 Links

  • 8-2 colonial dames.jpg Colonial Dames honors members with luncheon

    The John McKnitt Chapter Colonial Dames 17th Century held its May meeting at the home of Joyce Ernst. Those present were Sherry Sneed, Jessie Watts, Dot Brodhag, Kandy B. Smith, Lynn Constan, Donna Hamilton, Margaret Markum, Lana Davis, Sara Tripiciano, Jane Tavernier, Joyce Ernst, Kathy Wilson, Charlotte Reynolds, and Cheryl Chrobot. President Lana Davis welcomed the ladies and followed with the opening ritual.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo