Georgia Dock controversy isn't ruffling Tyson's feathers

Dive Brief:

  • Tyson has maintained its belief in the integrity of its poultry pricing methods and that Georgia Dock pricing only impacts about 4% of the company's business overall, Tyson's president Tom Hayes said during the Sanford C. Bernstein Consumer Summit earlier this month, Meat + Poultry reported.
  • Hayes said that the media has sensationalized the situation, which he says has become "an attack on our integrity as a company and we take it personally."
  • Hayes also said that Tyson remains open to acquisitions to help expand its portfolio in key areas, particularly no-antibiotics-ever meats.

Dive Insight:

Tyson doesn't seem to be shying away from the lawsuit filed against it and other major poultry producers. "We’re anxious to defend ourselves in court," Hayes said at the summit. "We feel like we’ve got a great position. We’re very happy with what we do at Tyson Foods and in no way are we going to back off of what we have been historically."

Hayes is taking a confident stance on the present state and future of Tyson, which is going to be critical as Tyson CEO Donnie Smith steps down and transfers the role of CEO over to him. Major leadership changes can make investors feel uneasy, especially when pricing scandal claims have only intensified in recent weeks.

Hayes has kept his focus not on the Georgia Dock controversy but on how Tyson will grow moving forward through internal innovation initiatives and acquisitive growth. That includes investments made by Tyson's recently announced venture capital arm, Tyson New Ventures LLC. This VC unit offers Tyson the ability to manage potential future acquisitions by first investing in promising concepts to build relationships with startup founders, gain a better understanding of a startup's operations and see how that company might fold into Tyson's global portfolio.

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Filed Under: Corporate Meat / Protein