What do you get when you combine Jewish rabbis and a chicken farm? You get Empire Kosher Poultry. The company is the world's largest processor of kosher poultry and has 65 rabbis on staff. Empire processes and distributes fresh, frozen, and prepared chicken and turkey, as well as value-added chicken and turkey products, such as turkey pastrami, breaded chicken tenders, and pizza. Its processing facilities have a capacity to handle 225,000 chickens per week. Empire sells its poultry to butcher shops, delis, supermarkets, and club stores across the US and throughout the rest of the world. In 2015 the company was acquired by Hain Celestial Group.
Change in Company Type
In early 2015, food maker and personal care and cleaning products supplier Hain Celestial Group purchased the 80% of Empire Koshner it did not already own for about $58 million.
The vertically integrated company operates its own breeder farms, hatcheries, feed mills, grow-out houses, and processing facilities, and contracts with local farmers to raise natural, free-roaming birds. Its primary plant is located in Pennsylvania.
Sales and Marketing
Empire sells its products to poultry to butcher shops, delis, supermarkets, and club stores under the Empire Kosher Poultry brand. It sells its Kosher Valley line exclusively for Whole Foods.
Empire Kosher was founded in 1938 by Joseph N. Katz, an immigrant from Austria. Katz founded the company after he realized that the US Jewish population, which was moving out of urban areas into the suburbs and countryside, was having trouble finding kosher foods. He even sent for rabbis from Israel and Europe to ensure that Empire was following the 3,000-year-old Jewish dietary laws. The company grew and Katz invested in new equipment and began offering frozen, vacuum-wrapped poultry. By the 1950s, Empire was offering not only fresh and frozen poultry, but fresh deli meats and pizza. Katz retired from the company in 1992 and died in 2005.