Friday morning I ended up getting downtown super super SUPER ahead of schedule. Traffic has been a bit more than a bit messed up locally lately and I didn't want to risk rushing for the Frito Lay Tour. Luckily I ran into some of the bigger bloggers - bigger as in more established etc. I was half asleep and trying to no geek out and babble like I have a tendency to do. They were all headed out to The Corner Bakery for breakfast. By the end of breakfast I was a little bit less nervous about not really knowing anyone. My friend IRL and roommate Stina from Girl Can... wasn't going to be around until later.
Since it was too early for me to technically be up and running amuck since 4:45am, I wasn't super hungry but knew I'd better eat or I'd feel sick later. I had a blurry bagel w lowfat cream cheese, blurry in that camera didn't like the settings it was on and I didn't realize it until later. (I will save your eyes and not post.)
I boarded the giant bus after mingling in the lobby with other tour-ees for awhile. Part of me felt like it was a blogger rockstar tour bus but all the craziness was a game of Catchphrase that Caitlin from Healthy Tipping Point started. It had brackets and my team won the first round. Sadly, we didn't get to proceed to greatness due to lack of time. Perhaps there will be a continuation at next year's HLS.
During our trek to Wisconsin, I got a chance to meet a bunch of other bloggers including Emily from Relishments (who was also my "buddy" for making sure we had everyone all on the bus before leaving rest stops), Sean from Learn Fitness, and Lisa from Cupcake Breath.
Upon our arrival to the Frito Lay plant in Beloit, WI we all were greeted by a snazzy orange fellow in shades (I bet he wears his sunglasses at night too.)
They gave a really informative presentations about the healthy and environmental changes and goals for the company. Sean took notes so I recommend reading his post.
A great spread awaited us as well.
All recycled materials including utensils which I had not seen before.
An assortment of wraps including a veggie option
COOKIES and MILK! My inner 5 yr old was happy but I split a cookie with...
I haven't been in a cookie mood lately otherwise there'd be two plates and not just this one.
Turkey, white cheddar wrap, fruit salad, salad w french dressing, and a glass of iced tea that is hiding just above my plate.
The plant people, as in FL plant not the kind like Audrey II, originally split us into two group. After the first presentation, half went on the tour while half ate and then we switched. We broke into smaller groups from the original two groups and headed out on the tour. It was loud and smelled amazing in the seasoning sections. The salting area was one where you could taste it in the air. I thought being able to see everything from the potato to the seasoned chip to the packaging and shipping was very interesting.
I also really enjoyed watching the reactions of the people working there. This was their first food blogger group (AWESOME!) and some didn't know about food blogs.
We all picked up our swag bags and headed back to the bus. What we didn't realize though was that we were also headed to a traffic jam. Around O'Hare the traffic stopped and you could start to feel a bit of tension in the bus since the majority of us were all heading back to the cocktail party. Sean suggested taking the Blue Line and I totally agreed with him. I take the El all the time and while it does start and stop, unless there is a breakdown, you do move. While it would still take time, it'd be actually moving. A vote was taken and a good number of us, red swag bags, decided on the EL. One smushed car, several stops, and a few bags of chips given away later we all made it back to the Loop and back to the hotel.
Luckily Stina had already checked in so all I had to do was grab my key and jet off to get ready for the cocktail party...