Tyson Foods has opened a new $355 million food production facility in Bowling Green, Ky. It was built to support an expansion of its bacon production capabilities.
The 400,000-sq.-ft. plant is expected to produce two million pounds a week of Jimmy Dean and Wright Brand bacon retail products and bacon used in foodservice. Bacon represents more than $1 billion in sales across retail and foodservice at Tyson Foods. This plant is expected to help the company meet the needs of this category now and as it grows in the future.
Located in Warren County’s Kentucky Transpark, the new facility will create nearly 450 new jobs in southcentral Kentucky.
“Our innovative new plant in Bowling Green reflects a major investment that we are proud to make in southcentral Kentucky,” says Donnie King, president and CEO, Tyson Foods. “This enables us to focus on the health and safety of our team members while also delivering best in class service for our customers.”
The new facility represents an opportunity for Tyson Foods to innovate with new bacon flavors, cuts and products such as fully cooked bacon.
“Bacon is a growing category based on consumer demand, both at home and at restaurants, and our expanded production will enable us to lead this growth and drive innovation,” says Melanie Boulden, group president of prepared foods and chief growth officer.
Tyson Foods selected Bowling Green due, in part, to its proximity to raw materials in the pork supply chain and to inbound and outbound transportation lanes in support of the company’s focus on efficiency and operational excellence. It also enables end-to-end profitability by utilizing pork bellies provided primarily by Tyson Foods’ pork segment.
The company says its Bowling Green plant was designed with the safety and well-being of team members at the forefront. It combines high-tech robots that help eliminate ergonomically stressful tasks such as transporting large pork bellies along multiple production lines, packing and stacking boxes, and safely moving product through production zones with driverless forklifts and autonomous guide vehicles (AGVs).
The company is also helping team members improve their skills by partnering with Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College (SKYCTC) to offer technical training, including a robotics lab.