Tyson Foods to lay off 1,700 workers, close two chicken plants

  • Tyson Foods will close two chicken plants in May as part of a plan to strengthen its poultry business.
  • In the latest quarter, the meat giant said its chicken business underperformed expectations.
  • Other food suppliers, including PepsiCo and Beyond Meat, have laid off workers in recent months to cut costs.

A package of Tyson Foods Inc. chicken is posed for a photograph in Tiskilwa, Illinois.

Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Tyson Foods will close two chicken plants in May, affecting nearly 1,700 employees.

“While the decision was not an easy one, it reflects our broader strategy to strengthen our poultry business by optimizing operations and utilizing full available capacity at each facility,” Tyson said in a statement to CNBC.

In the latest quarter, Tyson’s chicken business underperformed expectations as operating income was halved compared to the same period last year.

The company’s factories in Van Buren, Arkansas and Glen Allen, Virginia will close on May 12. Demand will be shifted to other Tyson facilities. The Wall Street Journal first reported the upcoming closures.

Tyson said it is working with the affected employees to apply for open jobs and relocation assistance to other facilities. The Glen Allen plant has 692 employees, while the Van Buren plant has 969 workers.

The meat giant is the latest food supplier to lay off workers in a bid to cut costs.

Beyond Meat and Imposible Foods, which both make alternative meats, have cut more than a fifth of their workforces as demand for their products declines and the companies try to save money. Coca-Cola offered voluntary buyouts to North American workers, while PepsiCo cut jobs in its Frito-Lay and North American beverage units. Spice giant McCormick said it would offer buyouts and lay off workers as part of a plan to save $75 million.

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