Tyson Foods officially opened its new $355 million bacon-processing facility in Bowling Green, Ky., according to a release from the company. The 400,000-sq.-ft. plant will produce two million pounds of Jimmy Dean and Wright Brand bacon per week, to help position Tyson to capitalize on an increasing market for its bacon products in both retail and foodservice channels.
It is anticipated the facility will create nearly 450 new jobs in the southcentral region of Kentucky. It represents a significant opportunity for Tyson to innovate with new bacon flavors, cuts and products including fully cooked bacon, the company said, building on the fast-growing Jimmy Dean and Wright Brand successes over the past few years.
Bowling Green was selected by Tyson in part due to its proximity to the raw pork supply chain and transportation lanes in and out of the region. The company expects the plant to enable end-to-end profitability by utilizing pork bellies provided primarily by Tyson Foods’ pork segment, the release noted.
The Bowling Green facility combines high-tech robotics to eliminate ergonomically stressful tasks, keeping employees healthier and safer. Rather than employees doing these laborious tasks, driverless forklifts and autonomous guide vehicles (AGVs) will do the pushing and pulling, transporting pork bellies along the processing lines, packing and stacking boxes, and moving product through the facility in most instances.
Tyson also will partner with Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College to offer relevant technical training, including a robotics lab, for its employees.