Koch Foods, Olymel invests in facility expansions to increase respective poultry production capacities

US — US food processor and distributor Koch Foods Inc. is planning to invest US$220 million in expanding its existing poultry processing facility in Fairfield, Ohio to meet a surging demand for poultry products. 

The expansion works will see Koch add approximately 402,000 square feet north of its current location in addition to the installation of two production lines along with other renovations and improvements.  

About US$120 million will be spent on additions and new construction while new machinery and equipment will cost US$80 million. 

Koch plans to spend US$20 million on improvements to the existing buildings, according to a document from the Fairfield City Council Meeting on Sept. 27.  

About 400 jobs are expected to be created when the expansion works are complete in December 2022.  

The poultry processor is also expected to retain the 1,190 full-time employees currently working at the plant.  

Koch Foods’ expansion comes on the back of rising demand for chicken in the United States.  

Research carried out by IRI and 210 Analytics found that retail chicken sales increased by US$ 1.3bn in 2020, up 19.5% from the same period last year.  

The survey, which last month questioned 999 Americans who eat chicken, also found that 75% of Americans who eat chicken were now preparing the delicacy at home at least once a week. 

Moreover, half of those surveyed have consumed meat more than any other protein during the pandemic.  

Around 48% of respondents said they increased the amount of chicken they prepared during the pandemic while 39% said they had increased the ways they prepared chicken. 

Olymel inaugurates new poultry plant expansion 

Meanwhile, Olymel LP has opened new pre-packaging facilities at the company’s poultry processing plant in St. Damase, Montérégie Est, Quebec.  

The project, which cost more than C$30 million (US$23.7 million), included the addition of a new automated cutting line, three new automated deboning lines, four tray packing lines, a new shipping area, and a refrigerated warehouse. 

A total of 35,000 square feet were added to the plant, bringing the available space to a total of 150,000 square feet.  

The weekly slaughter capacity now stands at approximately 1 million birds at the St. Damase plant, which employs CO2 anesthesia stunning. 

The company has also reorganized the production areas at the plant and expanded employee facilities and the cafeteria. 

“Completing this project will enable Olymel to respond more efficiently and quickly to the requirements of customers looking for quality and large volumes of specific poultry products to better serve consumers,” said Réjean Nadeau, president and chief executive officer of Olymel.  

The expansion led to the creation of 80 new jobs, bringing the number of employees working at the St. Damase facility to more than 500. 

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