As part of its strategy to increase production of consumer ready products, Tyson Foods is expanding its case-ready meats business by reopening and repurposing a plant in Columbia, South Carolina.
The company plans to reopen an idle Tyson-owned facility in Columbia and convert it into a meat-cutting facility that will produce 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 approximately $42 million to transform the facility into a meat portioning and packaging operation that is currently 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 at the facility with a total investment estimated at $55 million. The new operation will employ 330 people, more than double the number of team members who worked at the facility when it closed in August 2020.
Operations in Columbia ceased less than a year ago. It previously was a site where pork was further processed for taco meat and pizza toppings. A company spokesman said at the time the decision to close it was as a way to increase efficiency in the business. The processing operations at that plant were to be consolidated into other Tyson facilities.
“Tyson Foods’ initial $42 million investment, and the 330 jobs that will result from it, will help continue South Carolina’s tremendous economic growth,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “We look forward to continuing our state’s fruitful partnership with Tyson and to their continued commitment to South Carolina and our people.”
“Tyson Foods’ reinvestment in the Columbia plant highlights South Carolina’s strategic and geographic importance to agribusiness,” said South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers. “As we continue to grow the agribusiness industry in the Palmetto State, we’re happy to have Tyson as our partner.”
Tyson Foods’ case-ready beef and pork business currently operates plants in Iowa, Tennessee and Texas and 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.