In the United States, the Top 5 largest poultry companies produce the majority of the country’s broilers.
Five broiler companies – Tyson Foods Inc., Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., Sanderson Farms Inc., Perdue Farms Inc. and Koch Foods Inc. – produced about 60 percent of the U.S.’ ready-to-cook (RTC) chicken last year, according to WATT Global Media’s Top Poultry Companies database. Between them, they produced about 493.21 million pounds weekly.
Just three companies – Tyson, Pilgrim's Pride and Sanderson – produce approximately half of the nation’s chicken.
The National Chicken Council, a Washington-based trade association representing the broiler industry, estimates that the industry employs about 280,800 workers in the U.S.
The Top 5 broiler producers in the U.S. account for more than half of the country’s broiler production, and earned a collective $28.1 billion in revenue last year.
1. Tyson Foods
Tyson Foods Inc. is the largest chicken company in the United States and one of the largest food companies in the world.
The Springdale, Arkansas-based multinational company had one of its best years ever in 2015. It reported $40.6 billion in sales – a record for the company – during the year. According to WATT’s data, the company’s revenue grew to $11.4 billion from $11.1 billion the previous year.
Tyson’s weekly production of ready-to-cook (RTC) chicken dropped slightly, however, to 175.6 million pounds from 176.31 million pounds the previous year.
The company, which purchased Hillshire Brands and Bosco’s Pizza Co. in 2014, is broadening its food production portfolio and reducing its focus on chicken, pork and beef production. Additionally, Tyson is producing less and purchasing more chicken from other producers, particularly when prices are weak.
The company, led by CEO Donnie Smith, employed 124,000 in 2015, according to WATT’s data.
2. Pilgrim's Pride
Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., owned by Brazilian meat giant JBS S.A., grew in 2015 with the acquisition of Tyson de México – Tyson’s Mexican operations – in an acquisition that was valued at $400 million.
The Greely, Colorado, chicken company reported $7.1 billion in 2015 sales to WATT. In 2014, the company reported $7.6 billion in annual revenue.
Pilgrim’s weekly RTC chicken production increased in 2015, to 141.67 million pounds from 138.36 million pounds in 2014. The company, led by CEO Bill Lovette, employed 39,200 in 2015, according to WATT’s data, an increase from 35,000 in 2014.
3. Sanderson Farms
Sanderson Farms Inc. is focusing on a build-and-grow strategy focused on efficiently raising broilers and keeping costs competitive. In 2015, the company launched a pair of operations in Texas and started construction on a new broiler complex in North Carolina.
The Laurel, Mississippi, poultry company’s annual revenue increased to $2.8 billion in 2015 from $2.7 billion the previous year. The company’s weekly RTC chicken production grew to 66.2 million pounds in 2015 from 58.8 million pounds in 2014.
The company, led by CEO Frank Sanderson Jr., employed 12,283 in 2015, an increase from 11,624 in 2014.
4. Perdue Foods
Perdue Farms Inc., which is increasing its antibiotic-free broiler production, is also diversifying into turkey production and energy projects. In 2015, the company acquired Natural Food Holdings, which included pork, beef, lamb, cage-free egg, and smoked and cured meat products.
In 2015, the company’s weekly chicken production increased to 61.74 million pounds from 56.49 million pounds the previous year. The company’s revenue grew to $3.9 billion in 2015 from $3.8 billion in 2014, according to WATT’s data.
The Salisbury, Maryland, company’s employment fell to 18,588 in 2015 from 19,878 in 2014. The company is led by CEO James Perdue.
5. Koch Foods
Koch Foods Inc. neither gained nor lost ground in 2015. The Chicago-based chicken processing company invested in improvement and expansion of facilities in Ohio and Mississippi during the year.
Weekly chicken production, revenue and employment at the company, led by Joseph Grendys, were flat from 2014 to 2015. Weekly RTC chicken production was 48 million pounds, annual revenue was $3 billion and employment was 12,500, according to WATT’s data.
Five companies operating in the U.S. account for more than half of the ready-to-cook chicken produced in the country each year.