18 May Costco Eyes September 2019 Start-Up for Poultry Processing
By Kevin T. Higgins, Managing Editor | May 18, 2018
September 2019 is now the expected start-up date for Costco Wholesale Inc.’s poultry processing operation in Fremont, Neb., according to Craig Wilson, vice president and general merchandising manager.
Groundbreaking for the $275 million project occurred in June, with summer 2019 the preliminary target for commissioning.
In a panel discussion at the Food Safety Summit, Wilson said the facility will have a capacity of 2 million birds a week.
Operating under the name Lincoln Premium Poultry, a captive supplier to Costco, the project will include a hatchery and feed mill on the 414-acre site. The processing plant will have a footprint of approximately 380,000 sq. ft.
Icelandic OEM Marel is the lead equipment supplier. The highly automated plant, which will include three slaughter lines, is expected to require a staff of 800, down from a preliminary estimate of 1,200.
While water emersion is the chilling process for almost all U.S. chickens, Costco will deploy an air-chilled system. The first such system in North America is used by Tecumseh, Poultry, based in nearby Waverly, Neb. Tecumseh was founded 20 years ago and goes to market under the Smart Chicken label.Full Story