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Tyson Foods Q1 Earnings Show Progress, But Beef Business Still Hurting

Feb. 5, 2024
Meat and poultry processing giant says strategies have helped after a troubling 2023, but also warns that plenty of work remains to be done.

The moves made over the last 12 months by meat and poultry processor Tyson Foods to attempt to get costs better under control appear to be gaining traction, as the Springdale, Ark.-based company today reported first-quarter earnings that were better than expected, according to numerous sources.

Tyson said its chicken business, which posted an adjusted income of $192 million, has benefitted from the closure of nearly half a dozen U.S. plants in the last year. In addition, the company’s Prepared Foods division continued to thrive, reporting an adjusted income of $264 million for the quarter. Nevertheless, the company also warned it was still making its way through a tough landscape.

“We’ve taken some steps in the right direction, but we have a lot of work to do,” CEO Donnie King reportedly told participants in a conference call on the results. For instance, the company’s beef business reported a loss, hindered by still-rising prices and cattle supply constraints.

CFO John R. Tyson told Reuters that more plant closures remain a possibility as Tyson continued to analyze and respond to uncertainty across the market. Adjusted operating income did still fall in Q1, some 9.2%, to $411 million.

The beef business reported a $117 million loss, well off the $129 million income the unit posted a year ago. A slide in cattle futures cost the company inventory losses of approximately $56 million, the report said.

Beef sales were up 6.4% for the company, and prices shot up 10.5%, but beef volumes slipped 4.1%. Meanwhile, the pork business climbed 7.7% higher than a year ago, even as prices plunged 8.5%.

About the Author

Andy Hanacek | Senior Editor

Andy Hanacek has covered meat, poultry, bakery and snack foods as a B2B editor for nearly 20 years, and has toured hundreds of processing plants and food companies, sharing stories of innovation and technological advancement throughout the food supply chain. In 2018, he won a Folio:Eddie Award for his unique "From the Editor's Desk" video blogs, and he has brought home additional awards from Folio and ASBPE over the years. In addition, Hanacek led the Meat Industry Hall of Fame for several years and was vice president of communications for We R Food Safety, a food safety software and consulting company.