Tyson Foods Announces Plans to Acquire Smart Chicken Brand
[Read Cornucopia’s letter to the DOJ and FTC.]
Last week, U.S. meat industry titan Tyson Foods, Inc. announced its plans to acquire Tecumseh Poultry, LCC for an undisclosed amount. The deal would take one of the leading organic poultry brands, Smart Chicken, and pair them with other organic brands the industrial giant already owns. Organic industry watchdog The Cornucopia Institute just released a formal request to antitrust regulators asking them to scrutinize the acquisition, claiming it will irreparably harm competition in the already highly concentrated industry sector.
Gates open, grass mowed, all doors closed.
No signs of birds ever being out.
Tyson Foods is one of the world’s largest food companies. The corporation has approximately $38.3 billion in annual sales, producing over 68 million pounds of meat per week. Tyson representatives state that this acquisition will make them one of the nation’s leading producers of organic branded chicken. Tyson also produces organic chicken products under its NatureRaised Farms and Aidells brands. Smart Chicken will add significant market share to the organic poultry brands Tyson already holds.
In 2017 Cornucopia made a similar claim that France’s Groupe Danone’s acquisition of WhiteWave Foods would create an unhealthy market in the organic dairy industry. That deal would have combined the Horizon label (the country’s largest organic milk brand) with Stonyfield yogurt (the country’s largest organic yogurt brand). Regulators at the U.S. Department of Justice concurred, allowing the deal to go through only after Danone jettisoned Stonyfield.
The market for organic poultry grew in sales volume by 8.6 percent from 2016 to 2017 (more than four times the rate of conventional poultry growth). According to USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), the number of certified organic broilers produced in 2016 totaled more than 19 million and the number of certified organic turkeys was 410 thousand. The impressive growth of the organic poultry market in recent years made this move attractive to Tyson, with its representatives noting that the Smart Chicken brand is a leader in the organic poultry market and would give them a greater slice of that market. Read Full Article »