Peco Foods hopes you'll pick up their poultry. Producing some 18 million pounds of poultry every week, the company processes private-label and store-brand chicken for US retail and foodservice customers. Peco Foods also exports items to Canada, Mexico, South America, Asia, and Eastern Europe. The processing company's frozen, deli, and tray-pack products include boneless, skinless chicken breasts and tenderloins; boneless thighs; and jumbo legs and wings; as well as value-added breaded and flavored products. As a fully integrated processor, Peco Foods operates feed mills and hatcheries in two US states to support its poultry production facilities. The company purchased the Arkansas division of Townsends in 2011.
Peco Foods acquired Townsends' Arkansas plants out of bankruptcy for more than $51 million, expanding its footprint to that state. As a result, it added the Chef's Select, Perfect Breast, Pristine Cuisine, Ruby Dragon, and Speedy Bird brand names to is products portfolio.
Peco Foods' expansion into Arkansas comes on the heels of previously laid plans to extend its reach. Peco Foods operates more than a dozen locations to support its business. The company has five processing plants, four feed mills, and three hatcheries located in Alabama and Mississippi. It was announced in September 2010 that Peco Foods will build to new feed mill in Lake, Mississippi, to replace its operation in Sebastopol, Mississippi. Valued at $25 million, the mill is expected to begin operations in 2012. It will initially produce 13,000 tons of finished feed a week and eventually produce more than 17,000 tons per week when building is completed. Customers of Peco Foods include Kroger, Giant, Topco, Aldi, Safeway, and Wal-Mart.
The largest export market for US chicken is Russia, which in 2009 reported finding antibiotic and anti-parasitic drug residue in products from three separate plants belonging to three US chicken companies, Peco (and its plant in Canton, Mississippi) among them. In March of that year, Russia banned the companies' products. (The other companies involved in the ban were Tyson and Sanderson Farms.)
Peco was founded by Herman Hickman in the 1930s, when he and his brother-in-law began raising 75 white leghorn biddies; Peco Foods is still owned and operated by the Hickman family.
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