In recent years, our annual Top 100 Meat and Poultry Processors Report was littered with constant references to record sales, best years ever and rosy outlooks for the future. That has, at least temporarily, come to a halt in the 2019 edition, as processors are realizing they face slower sales and looming problems.

For the first time since the question “How was your company’s last fiscal year performance?” began appearing in our Top 100 questionnaire, a majority of respondents answered “average” instead of “best year ever.” Although there was a general belief that the current fiscal year would be better than the last one, processors seemed more aware than ever of the challenges ahead.

2019 Top 100 Index:

Sixteen different companies mentioned labor issues as one of the main challenges for the coming year, be it finding help or retaining employees. Record-low unemployment rates have become a problem, as companies struggle to fill available positions.

Labor was far and away the biggest concern, but there were other issues as well. Biosecurity is a key issue for both the pork (African swine fever) and poultry (Newcastle disease) industries. Uncertainty surrounding USDA regulation, export markets, raw material markets and the restaurant sector were also listed. Consumer perceptions of the meat-processing industry were also listed.

“Consumer behavior toward meat consumption is a bigger concern, as analogue meat continues to develop and environmental concern over the sustainability of animal agriculture persists,” wrote one executive.

Meat and Poultry Processor Ratings of Last Fiscal Year Performance

Meat and Poultry Processor Ratings of Current Fiscal Year

Of course, there were plenty of bright spots in the year. Many processors made key acquisitions, released innovative new products or expanded their production capabilities. Tyson Foods, thanks in part to its acquisition of Keystone Foods, became the first processor to top the $40 billion mark on the Top 100 Report. Several acquisitions, namely Rose Packing by OSI Group and Harris Ranch by Central Valley Meat, took place after presstime — those changes will be reflected in the 2020 list.

Other processors identified numerous strategies to make the best of 2019 and beyond. That included capital expenditures (new cooking systems, new ERP system, new sausage line) and product development (private label, convenience foods and ground beef were all listed as opportunities).

Read through the rest of the report for market segment breakdowns, our Greatest Gains chart and a list of past highlights from the companies included on both charts.

View the 2019 Top 100 Rankings

Editor’s Note for charts: Not all companies responded to every question on the questionnaire. Those that declined to answer any particular question were left out of those results. If you would like your company to be included in the 2020 Top 100 Processors Report or the Greatest Gains report, contact Sam Gazdziak at

2019 Market Segment Reports

Editor’s note: The market segment reports are gathered by information submitted by the following companies, or information that is publicly available. Those companies that did not respond or declined to provide specific information were not included.

Select a market segment in order to view the report:

Company Sales in Sector
(in millions)
Overall Sales
(in millions)
OSI Group LLC 2,989 6,100
Kenosha Beef Int'l Ltd. 971.5 971.5
Caviness Beef Packers Ltd. 650 650
CS Beef Packers LLC 450 450
Stampede Meat Inc. 405 675
Branding Iron Holdings Inc. 372.4 380
Colorado Premium 324 405
Golden West Food Group 282.1 806
West Liberty Foods 183.6 1,020
Monogram Foods 128.4 414.3
Swaggerty Sausage Co. 150 150
Williams Sausage Co. 130.3 130.3
Cooper Farms 114 570
Trim-Rite Food Corp. 100 100
Stampede Meat Inc. 66.3 510
Company Sales in Sector
(in millions)
Overall Sales
(in millions)
Sanderson Farms Inc. 3,236 3,236
Mountaire Farms Inc. 2,122 2,122
George's Inc. 1,395 1,500
House of Raeford Farms 1,060 1,060
Fieldale Farms Corp. 900 900
OSI Group LLC 732 6,100
John Soules Foods Inc. 397.3 473
Golden West Food Group 346.6 806
West Liberty Foods 255 1,020
Foundation Food Group 238 238
Company Sales in Sector
(in millions)
Overall Sales
(in millions)
OSI Group LLC 1,708 6,100
Fresh Mark Inc. 1.130.9 1,315
Rantoul foods dba Agar Foods 281 281
Monogram Foods 232 414.3
Abbyland Foods Inc. 189.8 316.3
Swaggerty Sausage Co. 155 155
Golden West Food Group 137.0 806
Williams Sausage Co. 128.4 128.4
West Liberty Foods 122.4 1,020
Stampede Meat Inc. 87.8 675
Company Sales in Sector
(in millions)
Overall Sales
(in millions)
West Liberty Foods 367.2 1,020
Dakota Provisions LLC 213.2 260
Abbyland Foods Inc. 88.6 316.3
OSI Group LLC 61 6,100
Eddy Packing Co. 34.5 230
Company Sales in Sector
(in millions)
Overall Sales
(in millions)
Smithfield Foods Inc. 1,549.4 15,494
Hormel Foods 570 9,500
OSI Group LLC 488 6,100
Mountaire Farms Inc. 297.1 2,122
House of Raeford Farms 159 1,060
Fresh Mark Inc. 131.5 1,315
Carl Buddig Co. 117.4 618
George's Inc. 105 1,500
Caviness Beef Packers Ltd. 97.5 650
Rantoul Foods dba Agar Foods 84.3 281
Company Sales in Sector
(in millions)
Overall Sales
(in millions)
Hormel Foods 1,520 9,500
House of Raeford Farms 1,060 1,060
Fieldale Farms Corp. 900 900
George's Inc. 345 1,500
OSI Group LLC 305 6,100
Eddy Packing Co. 57.5 230
Colorado Premium 40.5 405
Golden West Food Group 40.3 806
Foundation Food Group 35.7 238
Carl Buddig Co. 30.9 618
Company Sales in Sector
(in millions)
Overall Sales
(in millions)
Hormel Foods 2,375 9,500
Fresh Mark Inc. 197.3 1,315
Monogram Foods 186.4 414.3
Abbyland Foods Inc. 31.6 316.3
Stampede Meat Inc. 13.5 675
Company Sales in Sector
(in millions)
Overall Sales
(in millions)
Hormel Foods 6,650 9,500
George's Inc. 1,125 1,500
Fresh Mark Inc. 986.3 1,315
House of Raeford Farms 911.6 1,060
West Liberty Foods 775.2 1,020
Golden West Food Group 725.4 806
Fieldale Farms Corp. 720 900
Kenosha Beef International Ltd. 544.0 971.5
Caviness Beef Packers Ltd. 520 650
OSI Group LLC 488 6,100
Company Sales in Sector
(in millions)
Overall Sales
(in millions)
OSI Group LLC 5,612 6,100
Stampede Meat Inc. 560.3 675
Hormel Foods 475 9,500
Kenosha Beef International Ltd. 427.5 971.5
John Soules Foods Inc. 392.6 473
Branding Iron Holdings Inc. 376.2 380
George's Inc. 375 1,500
West Liberty Foods 244.8 1,020
Foundation Food Group 238 238
Fieldale Farms Corp. 180 900

View All Market Segment Reports

The Greatest Gains

The Greatest Gains chart is designed to showcase the companies that have shown the strongest growth over the past year. These are not necessarily the largest companies in the country; several of them did not make the cutoff for the Top 100 Report. However, their successful years deserve to be mentioned as well.

(top 100 ranking)
Recent Annual Sales
(in millions)
Previous Annual Sales
(in millions)
% Growth
George's Inc. (20) 1,500 1,125 33.33
Stampede Meat Inc. (40) 675 515 31.07
West Liberty Foods (26) 1,020 846 20.57
Brookwood Farms Inc. (NR)
Siler City, N.C.
47.5 43 10.47
Sunset Farm Foods Inc. (NR)
Valdosta, Ga.
20.7 18.7 9.52
Burgers' Smokehouse (NR)
California, Mo.
65 60 8.33
Smith Meat Packing (NR)
Port Huron, Mich.
40 37 8.11
John Soules Foods Inc. (51) 473 439 7.74
Carl Buddig Co. (44) 618 578 6.92
Old World Provisions (NR)
Troy, N.Y.
28 26.5 5.66
Branding Iron Holdings Inc. (60) 380 360 5.56
Golden West Food Group (67) 806 765 5.36
Colorado Premium (56) 405 385 5.19
CS Beef Packers LLC (52) 450 430 4.65
Foundation Food Group (72) 238 227.5 4.62
Eddy Packing (75) 230 220 4.55
Dakota Provisions LLC (70) 260 250 4.00
Abbyland Foods Inc. (65) 316.3 305.9 3.40
Swaggerty Sausage Co. (88) 155 150 3.33
Hormel Foods (6) 9,500 9,200 3.26

Highlights from the Greatest Gains list:

George’s Inc. acquired Ozark Mountain Poultry in October 2018. “With our combined assets, we look forward to being able to offer consumers additional choices with affordable antibiotic free and non-GMO poultry products,” said Carl George, Co-CEO.

Stampede Meat Inc. invested more than $36 million to renovate and reopen the former Tyson Foods facility in Sunland Park, New Mexico — the company’s first expansion outside of its Illinois home. Over the next year, the facility will increase Stampede’s existing 285,000 square footage and 190 million-pound capacity by more than half. Once fully utilized, the facility will support $300 to 400 million in incremental top line growth.

Brookwood Farms enjoyed a record year in sales and introduced pit cooked turkey barbecue and breast roasts.

Sunset Farm Foods Inc. is planning to follow up a good growth year in 2018 with new customers and an expansion of existing customers.

• In 2018, Burgers’ Smokehouse added a 40,000-square-foot addition to its California, Mo. plant and opened a slicing facility in Springfield, Mo. The company bought Clifty Farms Country Meats, its first major acquisition, in early 2019.

John Soules Foods added a new fully cooked production line at its Tyler, Texas facility.

• The year 2018 was the first full year of Carl Buddig Co.’s new BBQ company, CBQ LLC. The company’s newest plant came online in April. 

Old World Provisions celebrated the launch of a new sliced line, and all-natural grass-fed and finished line including retail and foodservice.

Branding Iron Holdings identified the need for a premium offering in frozen burgers and answered with Chop House – a line of premium Angus Beef Chuck, Angus Sirloin & Chuck, Angus Brisket & Sirloin and Certified Angus Beef Blended Steak Burgers. In 2018 the brand was being introduced into foodservice to offer a craft burger experience designed to tap into the chef-driven restaurant burger trend.

Golden West Food Group rolled out further-processed additions to premium burgers with the Meat District line, addition of Snake River Farms meats, Certified Angus Beef and Wahlburgers fitting with today’s consumer trend toward premium burgers. One of the featured new products is CAB shaved beef brisket. New this year on the cooked side are the Jack Daniel’s BBQ Whole Muscle line with traditional pit smoked Roast Sirloin, Turkey Breast and Pork Lion cuts as well as Baby Back Rib Buckets. New Licenses include Pioneer Woman entrees and sides.

CS Beef Packers LLC finished construction on its new ground beef facility and started producing product in March 2019.

Foundation Food Group was formed August 1, 2018. The company is the consolidation of Victory Processing Inc. and Prime Pak Foods Inc. under a centralized management team and organizational structure. Combined the two companies make up one of the largest independent further processing organizations in today’s marketplace, says CEO Jerry Wilson.

• Private equity firm Insight Equity purchased Eddy Packing Co. from Mason Wells.

Dakota Provisions LLC began operation of new 70,000-square-foot further process/ready-to-eat production facility in February 2018. The company is now producing some 50% no-antibiotic-ever product.

Abbyland Foods Inc. was able to successfully improve its summer sausage sales.

Swaggerty Sausage Co. enjoyed double-digit growth in pounds produced and shipped and expanded its line of all-natural links and patties. There was also continued reinvestment in facilities, including a harvest plant expansion, freezer and dry storage addition and updated slicing and link lines.

• In 2018 Hormel Foods invested $390 million in capital, the largest capital investment in the company’s history. Much of this went toward value-added production capacity for businesses such as Jennie-O Turkey Store and Hormel Foodservice.

Other highlights from the Top 100:

Caviness Beef Packers Ltd. will be adding a 2nd shift to its Hereford, TX facility. This will come on-line the 1st quarter of 2019.

Beef Products Inc. announced a name change to Empirical Foods Inc., as the next generation of Roth Family management officially took charge of the business.

Fieldale Farms Corp. completed the renovation of its Cornelia and Murrayville, Ga. plants.

House of Raeford Farms’ Wallace, N.C. ready-to-cook processing plant reopened after the facility was destroyed by fire in 2017. The new operation will have a capacity that is double the volume of the previous plant by late 2020.

Kenosha Beef International Ltd. established a cook-in-bag product line.

Monogram Foods invested $30 million in expansion projects at its Martinsville facility, and its Harlan plant was named to Nebraska’s safest companies in 2018. Also in 2018, the company raised $625,000 through its Monogram Loves Kids Foundation. CEO Karl Schledwitz was named 2018 CEO of the Year for the Inside Memphis magazine.

OSI Group LLC just announced the acquisition of Rose Packing, headquartered in Barrington, Ill. In May 2018, OSI International (Australia) merged with Turi Foods to create Turosi. Nicole Johnson-Hoffman, chief sustainability officer and senior vice president for OSI, was elected president of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef in January 2018.

• While ProPortion Foods’ new 200,000 square-foot headquarters and processing facility in Round Rock, Texas opened in 2017, 2018 represented its first full year in operation. Several pieces of new processing equipment, providing additional new capabilities were added to the facility throughout 2018.

• On June 18, 2018, Rantoul Foods LLC changed its establishment number to be known as Rantoul Foods LLC. dba Agar Foods LLC. It also constructed a new cut floor, installed a new CO2 machine and began fully operating an animal by-product conversion facility. Agar Foods also donated FFA jackets to all new members of Rantoul High School.

Smithfield Foods completed construction and began operating its new distribution center with blast cell cold storage capabilities in Tar Heel, N.C. in 2018. Smithfield invested $100 million into this expansion, which features nearly 50,000 pallet positions and has an annual capacity of more than one billion pounds. Smithfield also announced a $35 million investment into its Sioux Falls, S.D. operations. This investment includes a $20 million renovation of a facility that will house more than 8,000 hogs, and a $14 million expansion of the company’s processing facility that is set to be complete in 2019. The expansion of the Sioux Falls facility will enable the location to begin processing seasoned ground pork and other cuts in high demand by export markets. The company also expanded Smithfield Renewables, an innovative program designed to help meet its goal to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 25 percent by 2025.

Trim-Rite Food Corp. purchased 2 acres of land attached to its current property, with the idea of future expansion. The company also remodeled its office and customer areas.

Williams Sausage Co. opened a new distribution center in Union City, Tenn.