Tyson Foods will invest $55 million to expand its case-ready (retail) meat business by repurposing plant capacity at its formerly shuttered Columbia, S.C., facility. The plant will become a meat-cutting facility producing retail ready, portioned packages of sliced, fresh beef and pork, as well as ground beef, for grocery and club stores in the eastern U.S.
“We’re pleased to bring operations back to Columbia and are very grateful for the strong state and local support we’ve received for this project,” said Nate Hodne, senior vice president and general manager of the portioned protein innovations team for Tyson Fresh Meats, the beef and pork subsidiary of Tyson Foods. “Once operational, this new facility will help us meet growing demand from our retail customers with high quality, pre-cut, pre-packaged fresh beef and pork.”
Initially Tyson will invest $42 million to transform the facility into a meat portioning and packaging operation that is expected to begin production in May 2021. Over the next three to five years the company plans to invest in additional improvements and production equipment with a total investment estimated at $55 million. The new operation will employ 330 people, more than double the number who worked at the facility when it closed in August 2020.
Tyson Foods’ case-ready beef and pork business operates plants in Iowa, Tennessee and Texas and the company plans to open a new facility in Utah later this year. The operations are called case-ready, because the packaged meat produced by the Tyson facilities are ready to be placed directly in the refrigerated meat case at grocery and club stores.
Springdale-based Tyson Foods had beef sales of $15.742 billion last year and roughly 48% were case-ready retail consumer products. The pork business had sales of $5.128 billion and 35% retail case ready products, according to the company’s annual report.