CORNUCOPIA, Wis. – Industry watchdog group, The Cornucopia Institute, expressed its concerns with Tyson Foods’ announced plan to acquire Tecumseh Poultry LLC in a recent letter to the Dept. of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission.
Cornucopia released a formal request to antitrust regulators asking them to scrutinize the acquisition, claiming it will “…irreparably harm competition in the already highly concentrated industry sector.” The group sees the acquisition as challenging for future free competition in the organic poultry market.
“When large companies like Tyson gobble up smaller competitors like Tecumseh Poultry, it could eventually reduce options and raise prices for consumers without any positive impact on the quality of the products they are buying,” said Mark Kastel co-founder of The Cornucopia Institute. “With less competition, big companies also commonly underpay independent farmers for their products, undermining the economic viability of small, family-scale farms and rural communities. We should be very wary of this move.”
Cornucopia also stated that Tyson’s major poultry competitors increased market share through acquisitions. In 2016 Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. purchased the parent company of the “Just Bare” organic chicken brand. Perdue Farms also entered the organic poultry market when it acquired Coleman Natural Foods in 2011.
“We are concerned that Tyson and other large industrial livestock producers will easily be able to beat out any competition by controlling prices and squeezing more moderate-sized processors and marketers,” said Marie Burcham, who works on livestock issues for The Cornucopia Institute. “We already see this happening in the organic poultry market.”