Tyson Foods is buying Tecumseh Poultry, the Nebraska-based company that makes the Smart Chicken brand of air-cooled chicken.
According to Tyson, the company plans to keep Tecumseh Poultry’s nearly 600 workers and allow the company to operate as a separate subsidiary.
Smart Chicken’s air-chilled method of processing is different from the common industry practice of water chilling, which is practiced by Tyson. The USDA requires chicken poultry to be cooled to a certain temperature in order to ensure food safety. Air-cooled chicken is believed to allow the meat to retain all its flavor.
Tecumseh Poultry started in 1998 and has two plants in Waverly and Tecumseh, Nebraska.
Acquiring the brand will help Tyson offer more choices for consumers, Tyson’s Chief Marketing Officer for poultry Eric Schwartz.
Tyson, based in Springdale, already owns the NatureRaised Farms and Aidells brands of organic products.
Terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed.