Tyson Foods, Inc. has officially opened its new $355 million food production facility in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Built to support a significant expansion of its bacon production capabilities, the new plant positions Tyson Foods to capitalize on its category leadership and the increasing market for its products.
The 400,000-square-foot plant, which represents a significant investment in the local community, is expected to produce two million pounds a week of premium quality Jimmy Dean® and Wright® Brand bacon retail products and bacon used in foodservice. Bacon represents over $1 billion in sales across retail and foodservice at Tyson Foods. This plant will 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 south-central Kentucky.
“Our innovative new plant in Bowling Green reflects a major investment that we are proud to make in southcentral Kentucky,” said 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.”
Tyson Foods is a bacon category leader in foodservice and at retail with Jimmy Dean products representing the fastest-growing retail food brand over the past two years and Wright Brand products rising to the No. 1 consumer choice at retail in the stack category, according to Nielsen data. The new facility represents a significant opportunity for Tyson Foods to further 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,” said 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 protein leader’s 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.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear celebrated this achievement, stating, “The grand opening of Tyson Foods’ cutting-edge facility marks a significant leap in Kentucky’s economic development and job creation efforts. This plant embodies our vision for a flourishing Kentucky and symbolizes a new chapter of growth and prosperity in our state, thanks to Tyson Foods' expansion.”
Advanced automation and facility design prioritize well-being and efficiency
The 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 relevant technical training, including a robotics lab. These initiatives are part of the company’s commitment to becoming the most sought-after place to work, reflected through competitive pay, benefits and a safe and healthy workplace.