NOSH Live: How Tyson is Evolving Its Portfolio

Carol Ortenberg

Large CPG brands are taking note of changing consumer preferences and realizing to stay relevant, they have to evolve. One big company making major changes is Tyson Foods. Long known as a poultry producer, Tyson has taken steps to shift towards protein as a whole, rather then betting the farm on one species.

For Tyson, this has meant taking a variety of approaches to shore up its portfolio. The company has not only invested in clean meat and plant-based meat companies that promote more sustainable protein options, but also taken steps with it’s own line of products. Earlier this month Tyson launched ¡YAPPAH!, a line of protein crisps made from upcycled chicken trim, spent grain from breweries and leftover juice pulp.

Now the company is figuring out the portfolio of a next-generation Tyson. At the start of June, Tyson sold off its frozen brands Sara Lee and Van’s to private equity firm Kohlberg & Company, stating that it no longer fit with the company’s goals.

“These are great assets with outstanding team members; however, we’re focused on expanding Tyson Foods’ leadership position in protein,” Sally Grimes, group president, prepared foods, said in a statement.

The following week, Tyson announced it had acquired Tecumseh Poultry, producer of the Smart Chicken line of air-chilled chickens and chicken sausages, in a deal that opens the door for Tyson to enter the premium and organic protein space.

“More and more consumers want options for fresh, organic food that fits their lifestyles,” said Eric Schwartz, chief marketing officer of poultry, said in a release “The Smart Chicken brand is a leader in this key organic category, and the category’s growth makes this acquisition a strategic fit for Tyson Foods.”

Advisor to Tecumseh Poultry was financial services firm D.A. Davidson. At NOSH Live, Jeff Cleveland, managing director and head of food, beverage and agriculture investment banking at D.A. Davidson, appeared on the Livestream Studio to discuss his take on not only what the deal represents for Tyson, but also what emerging brands need to keep in mind as they grow and possibly seek acquisition.

To view Cleveland’s insights into the deal, view the video above.

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