Tyson Foods has bolstered its organic branded chicken portfolio with the acquisition of Tecumseh Poultry and its air-chilled Smart Chicken brand.
Tecumseh Poultry was founded in 1998 and produces air-chilled, fresh chicken, as well as deli-style chicken and a variety of chicken sausages.
The air-chilling process involves using cold air to cool chicken during processing, while the most common method used by the U.S. chicken industry is water-chilling.
“Consumers want choices. More and more consumers want options for fresh, organic food that fits their lifestyles,” said Eric Schwartz, Chief Marketing Officer of Poultry for Tyson Foods.
“The Smart Chicken brand is a leader in this key organic category, and the category’s growth makes this acquisition a strategic fit for Tyson Foods.”
According to Nielsen’s Perishables data, organic fresh chicken grew sales volume by 8.6% from 2016 to 2017, more than four times the rate of conventional poultry.
Tecumseh Poultry’s processing capabilities and its focus on quality have given the Smart Chicken brand a leading position in the fastest-growing U.S. category of fresh chicken.
The company’s operations include two plants located in Tecumseh and Waverly, Nebraska, as well as live operations.
Tyson currently plans to operate Tecumseh Poultry as a separate, wholly owned subsidiary and expects to retain its approximately 600 team members, including operations staff, sales teams and management.