- Tyson Foods said in a regulatory filing that it will eliminate about 500 jobs, with most of the layoffs coming at corporate offices in Chicago and Springdale, Arkansas.
- The layoffs were part of a corporate restructuring announced at the beginning of Tyson's 2020 fiscal year. The filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission said the restructuring program included a $44 million pre-tax-charge consisting of severance and employee-related costs.
- “We have an ongoing focus on financial fitness to make sure our business remains competitive," Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson told Food Dive in an email. "This means we’re continually reviewing our resources including staffing levels. We’ve recently reduced some roles and relocated others. It’s always difficult to eliminate and move jobs, and we’re doing this only after careful consideration.”
Tyson's decision to cut jobs follows in the footsteps of other companies such as Del Monte, Halo Top, Kellogg and Kind Snacks that have streamlined their staffing to make sure they are aligned with their business needs.
Just this week, Smithfield Foods announced it is closing its San Jose facility in California and laying off 139 workers, marking its departure from the Bay Area after decades in business, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The closure comes seven months after Smithfield announced the shuttering of another meatpacking facility in San Leandro, California.
The 500 job cuts at Tyson mark a small reduction in the company's overall workforce that totaled about 141,000 people at the end of September, according to the company's website.
Companies are routinely adjusting their staffing requirements as they look for ways to curtil expenses and remain competitive within the food industry. Tyson is no different in that regard. As business needs change and consumer preferences continue to shift, CPGs will inevitably respond with staffing adjustments — a prominent tool they will have in their arsenal.
Despite the cuts, Tyson, a major processor of poultry, beef and pork, has been in an enviable position as of late as consumer demand for protein and a growing global population have increased demand for its offerings. In the Arkansas-based company's earnings last week, Tyson, the owner of its namesake brand, Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm and Ball Park, posted a profit of $557 million compared to $551 million a year earlier. Sales rose 6% to $10.82 billion.
It's also been diversifying beyond its core meat and poultry roots by investing in lab-grown meat companies such as Memphis Meats. The 90-year-old company also was an early investor in plant-based food maker Beyond Meat, but exited the position shortly before the startup's IPO last May. It's also innovating internally, highlighted by the rollout last year of its Raised & Rooted brand that included plant-based nuggets made from a blend of pea protein isolate and other plant ingredients.
“With improved access to global markets resulting from recent trade developments, there are reasons to be optimistic about fiscal 2020 and beyond and we are well-positioned to capitalize on opportunities in the global marketplace," Noel White, Tyson's CEO, said in a statement. "Although we anticipate the challenges and volatility typical in our second fiscal quarter, our long-term outlook remains positive.”