Peco Foods hopes you'll pick up their poultry. Producing some 24 million pounds of poultry each 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 three US states to support its poultry production facilities. Peco Foods is owned and operated by the founding Hickman family.
Alabama-based poultry provider Peco Foods boasts US-based operations, but enjoys a global reach by exporting its items throughout North and South America, as well as in Asia and Eastern Europe.
The company is a top-10 largest poultry producer in the US. Peco Foods, which produces about 24 million pounds of poultry per week, operates a retail products division, which provides chicken products, marketing services, and support capabilities for its clients.
Peco Foods operates more than a dozen locations to support its business. The company has six processing plants, five feed mills, and four hatcheries located in Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi. One of its more recent additions is its new feed mill in Lake, Mississippi, which replaced its operation in Sebastopol, Mississippi. Valued at $25 million, the mill began operations in 2012 and boosted its production capacity to more than 17,000 tons per week.
Servicing the nation's largest grocery retailers, Peco Foods has built a substantial stake in customers' corporate brands. It supplies them with individually frozen, deli, and tray-pack chicken products.
To keep up with demand, Peco Foods has been broadening its business. In 2014 it began building a fully integrated poultry complex in two northeastern Arkansas counties: Raldolph and Clay. The project requires an investment of about $165 million. The facilities will be equipped with a hatchery, feed mill, and processing plant and create some 1,000 new jobs. Previously, the company spent $13.8 million in 2012 to expand its processing plant in Batesville, Arkansas, which is responsible for producing the chicken sold through the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant chain. To its benefit, Peco Foods received a $485,000 grant from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and $175,000 from Independence County.
Sales and Marketing
Customers of Peco Foods include Kroger, Giant, Topco, Aldi, Safeway, and Wal-Mart. The company markets its products through its own sales force.
The fully integrated poultry processing and packaging company boasts that it guarantees fresh delivery in fewer than 72 hours anywhere in the continental US.
Mergers and Acquisitions
The company has expanded in recent years. Peco Foods acquired Townsends' Arkansas plants out of bankruptcy in 2011 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 its products portfolio.
Peco Foods was founded by Herman Hickman in the 1930s, when he and his brother-in-law began raising 75 white leghorn biddies.
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.)