During the first private media tour of Daily’s Premium Meats’ bacon plant in St. Joseph, Missouri, Wes Cowins is clearly proud of what has been accomplished so far. But the plant manager is downright giddy about the future. “This is my favorite part,” he says, just before opening a door to a wide open field, where two-thirds of the 16-acre property is still undeveloped, sitting idle under a thin blanket of December snow.
Back inside, is the result of a project that broke ground in May 2015 and just over a year later was operational. The $54 million, 114,500-sq.-ft. bacon processing plant boasts a linear production line design with plenty of room for expansion. The company’s third bacon plant, this one is decidedly different, starts with the fact that the bellies it receives are sourced literally from across the street where Triumph Foods LLC’s massive pork slaughtering plant is located. In 2014, Triumph Foods invested $74 million for a 50 percent ownership share of Daily’s from its then-parent company, Seaboard Foods, based in Merriam, Kansas. It wasn’t long after the ink on the deal was dry when the decision was made to construct a plant in the Midwest. The goal was to expand the Daily’s brand to retail and foodservice markets east of Denver and supplementing supplies of smoked bellies to its current plants, in Missoula, Montana, and Salt Lake City, Utah.
“Within the past two years, both (of those) plants are at capacity, which obviously allowed us to build this facility,” says Kelly Hattan, Daily’s president. And now that the ribbon has been cut in St. Joseph, “We’ll be feeding Salt Lake 23 million lbs. annually,” he adds.
The plant has opened the door to grow Daily’s Southeast territory and serve customers in the Northeast, which has added 20 new markets to the Daily’s system. For 2017, the St. Joseph plant’s goals are modest but then become exponentially more aggressive. During its first year, officials expect the new facility to increase the company’s sliced bacon production by about 4 million lbs., but more significant growth is expected in years two through five, as the plant is designed for producing 1.25 million lbs. of product per week.
“We moved into the office on May 27th,” Cowins recalls. The 15,000-sq.-ft. office portion of the plant includes a reception area, cubicles, private offices, conference rooms, a client demonstration kitchen as well as an employee welfare area comprised of locker rooms, restrooms, and a lunch room.
To read the entire article, “Up to speed and into the future,” read the February issue of MEAT+POULTRY, available digitally at www.meatpoultry.com.