Meat Industry Beat

Jun 14, 2022

We’re tracking some big moves in the meat industry: a family brand turned equity firm holding, an antitrust accusation, and an escape from California’s clutches.

New Foster [Farms] Home: In an acquisition with a super secret price, private equity firm Atlas Holdings has acquired Foster Farms, a small, family-owned chicken producer.

Consumer preferences for poultry have driven strong sales numbers, making mergers and acquisitions in the industry commonplace. Unlike other recent M&As that have earned scrutiny from the Department of Justice and U.S. regulators (more on that later), Foster Farms’ acquisition doesn’t appear to have an antitrust flavor to attract that attention.

Stoppin’ the Flock: The Department of Justice is giving poultry execs something to squawk about as it takes its third swing at current and former leaders of popular poultry firms Pilgrim’s Pride and Claxton Poultry. The executives are accused of possible price-fixing.

Two previous attempts from the Department of Justice have failed to land guilty verdicts, with a mistrial being called in December of 2021 against 10 poultry executives, and then five of those being dropped from the case in March after another attempt.

California Dreamin’ Leavin’Smithfield Foods is packing up its pork processing plant in Vernon, California. They’re pointing fingers at the cost of doing business in the Golden State.

While Smithfield didn’t elaborate on the closure, the announcement does come as Proposition 12’s confinement space requirements roll out, and after the Vernon plant came under fire from the state’s workplace safety regulator for its handling of COVID-19.