The purchase includes the air-chilled Smart Chicken brand.
Tecumseh Poultry was founded in 1998 and produces air-chilled, fresh chicken, as well as deli-style chicken and chicken sausages. The air-chilling process involves using cold air to cool chicken during processing, while the most common method used by the US chicken industry is water-chilling.
According to Nielsen data, organic fresh chicken grew sales volume by 8.6% from 2016 to 2017, more than four times the rate of conventional poultry.
“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.”
Tecumseh Poultry’s operations include two plants located in Tecumseh and Waverly, Nebraska, as well as live operations. Tyson Foods 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.
“We’ve spent 18 years working to perfect our ability to produce the highest-quality, fresh chicken in the US. We’re very proud of that, and it’s not going to change,” said Kevin Siebert, president of Tecumseh. “Tyson Foods brings to the Smart Chicken brand and the rest of our product lines the resources to make us even stronger.”
Doug Ramsey, group president of Poultry for Tyson Foods, said: “This is a well-run company with a solid customer base that has earned consumer loyalty. We’re excited for Tecumseh to continue to produce quality chicken while providing the business the scale and resources it needs to continue growing. Customers should continue to work with existing contacts.”