US meat major Tyson Foods is spending US$48m on a plant in Arkansas to boost capacity of cooked chicken products sold into the retail and foodservice channels.

The investment in the site in Pine Bluff, located in Jefferson County and opened in 1991, aims to support the New York-listed firm’s long-term growth in its poultry business, with the project expected to create 70 jobs, adding to the factory’s employee count of more than 1,100. Work is due to be completed late this year.

Expansion in production is centred on fully-cooked chicken tenders, chicken strips, boneless and bone-in wings, and air-fried products. The investment will also add automated processes to packaging lines.

Donnie King, the president and chief operating officer for Tyson’s poultry division, said the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and the Economic Development Alliance for Jefferson County provided assistance and support for the project

He added: “The demand for convenient, high-quality chicken products continues to grow and we’re investing in projects that meet the needs of our customers and consumers.”

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By GlobalData

Tyson has recently added capacity for beef and pork products too. In March, the company announced it planned to spend $42m on repurposing a plant previously earmarked for closure in Columbia, South Carolina, to manufacture portioned packages of sliced, fresh beef and pork, as well as ground beef.

King was given the additional COO role in February to oversee a reorganisation of Tyson’s business segments in poultry, beef, pork and ready meals in order to speed up innovation. At the time, he said: “We must simplify and focus our structure to facilitate faster operational decision-making, and we must remove obstacles to provide an unmatched customer experience.”