Tyson Makes Major Investment in Bacon Business

Production facility in Kentucky represents significant opportunity to further innovate with new flavors, cuts and products
Marian Zboraj
Digital Editor
Marian Zboraj
Tyson Food - Bacon facility
According to Tyson Foods, its new production facility was designed with the safety and well-being of team members at the forefront.

Tyson Foods Inc. hosted a grand opening event on Jan. 25 for its new $355 million food production facility in Bowling Green, Ky. 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.

Located in Warren County’s Kentucky Transpark, the 400,000-square-foot plant is expected to produce 2 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 new plant will help the company meet the needs of this category now and as it grows in the future.

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“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,” noted Melanie Boulden, group president of prepared foods and chief growth officer at Tyson Foods.

The Bowling Green plant is an example of Tyson Foods’ next generation of facilities that focuses on automation across operations. The company aims to minimize inconsistencies of labor/labor availability, increase controllability, and enable real-time visibility into production and benefits team member safety. For example, the new Kentucky facility combines high-tech robots that help eliminate ergonomically stressful tasks such as transporting large pork bellies along multiple production lines, and packing and stacking boxes, and safely moves 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. 

“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 of 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 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. It also enables end-to-end profitability by using pork bellies provided primarily by Tyson Foods’ pork segment.

The new facility will create nearly 450 new jobs in southcentral Kentucky.

Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson Foods is one of the world’s largest food companies and a recognized leader in protein. Founded in 1935, the company has a broad portfolio of products and brands such as Tyson, Hillshire Farm, Ball Park, Aidells, ibp and State Fair. Tyson Foods had approximately 139,000 team members as of Sept. 30, 2023. 

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