OMAHA (DTN) -- Despite all the hubbub around plant-based proteins, traditional protein companies continue to expand. The latest is Tyson Foods, which on Thursday officially opened a new $425 million poultry complex in Tennessee that includes a processing facility, feed mill and hatchery.
Highlighting how retail demand for chicken has grown, the plant is Tyson's first new poultry processing facility in 25 years, Tyson officials noted.
The new Tyson facility in Humboldt, Tennessee, has 370,000 square feet for processing. The plant is expected to employ 1,500 people by 2023, but several hundred employees are all ready for production to begin, Tyson stated in a news release. The facility will produce pre-packaged trays of fresh chicken for retail grocery stores starting later this month.
"We appreciate the support of all those who played a role in making this facility possible -- the local community, county, state and our Humboldt team members, who safely and responsibly produce high-quality protein daily to help feed our nation and the world," said Dean Banks, president and CEO of Tyson Foods.
To put into context, Tyson's single investment in the new Tennessee plant is nearly equal to the entire 2020 revenues for plant-based protein companies such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. Still, plant-based protein companies are drawing increased attention from investors, advertisements and retail expansion. Beyond Meat, for instance, on Thursday announced product expansion at more retail stores around the country.
Tyson executives, though, cited that demand for chicken products was what drove the company to expand its operations in western Tennessee.
"The demand for Tyson chicken products continues to grow, and this plant will help us meet the needs of our customers and consumers," said Donnie King, chief operating officer and group president of Poultry for Tyson. "We're excited to start this new chapter with the people of western Tennessee who have been extremely supportive of the project since day one."
Tyson stated the payroll and payments to farmers, including the purchase of grains and utilities, will generate about $150 million in economic benefits in Tennessee.
Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.com
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