Peco Foods hopes you'll pick up their poultry. Producing some 24 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 three US states to support its poultry production facilities. The company purchased the Arkansas division of Townsends in 2011.
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.
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.
To keep up with demand, Peco Foods has been expanding its business. In 2012 the company spent $13.8 million 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.
Mergers and Acquisitions
The company has expanded in recent years. 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 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.
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.)