As organic-certified products have taken the market by storm, and only continue to gain popularity with consumers, Bell & Evans has unveiled exciting news as it announced that it has begun construction on a new Organic-Certified Chicken Harvesting Facility in Fredericksburg, Pennsylvania.
The facility touts approximately 411,500 square feet of new space, and will be operation by late 2021. The project is set to be a $330 million investment for the company as it continues to expand its production capacity, and will be financed by one of the first U.S. Green Loans for poultry.
"I spent more than 50 years in the chicken business making upgrades to old processes and retrofitting facilities with the most innovative equipment, and now to be building these beautiful, state-of-the-art chicken plants from the ground up is a dream come true," said Owner Scott Sechler.
The new harvesting facility will be placed on Bell & Evan’s 112-acre Chicken Harvesting Campus, where it will be joined by a second new harvesting facility set to be built within the next ten years. The facility will be constructed by design-build firm Stellar for a third time. According to a press release, the new facilities will triple the production scale of the company with the help of extra hatchers that will be added to the company’s hatchery, and a new wastewater treatment plant is already underway.
Construction of the facility will take place with durable, high-quality materials for food safety and longevity. The walls will be built with Thermomass precast concrete to provide an increased thermal rating, and production floors will incorporate acid brick flooring to help fight corrosion. Freezer floors will be insulated with six inches of extruded polystyrene to prevent frost heave, and no wood will be used in the operation. Windows also add a nice touch to create a bright, naturally lit environment for employees.
"I have been all over the world, including Europe dozens of times, visiting poultry operations and suppliers," explained Sechler. "I have a really good grasp of what's out there, and I like to take the best practices I find and make them even better to fit our Bell & Evans model. In Europe, producers have the right mindset. They build to last. I describe our project as 'European-Plus’.”
With its new facility under construction, Bell & Evans wants to make sure that animal welfare and sustainability are still top of mind as the building takes shape. That being said, the new facility has received praise from animal advocates based off of new systems being implemented. Additionally, the building will utilize fully computerized utility system that ensures water and energy efficiency and reusage. To learn more, click here to read the full press release.
Bell & Evans produces premium raised chicken, which accounts for about 60 percent of the company’s business, and organic chicken which accounts for 40 percent. All chickens are raised without antibiotics.
With the new facility in the works, the additional space will allow for an expansion in production of about 50 percent in order to meet increasing consumer demand, which has increased by 13.1 percent over the past three years, according to a 2019 report from IRI. In the same period, Bell & Evans experienced and increase of a whopping 69.9 percent for its organic chicken.
As Bell & Evans continues its massive growth, what does the future look like for this poultry maven? Continue checking back with Deli Market News for answers.