USA, Pennsylvania. US premium poultry producer Bell & Evans and Marel have concluded an agreement to build a state-of-the-art processing facility. For Marel, the construction of the greenfield poultry plant in Fredericksburg, Pennsylvania is one of the largest transactions to date.
Regarding to a Marel press release the two companies share the same vision for sustainability, animal well-being and food safety. Selling its premium products mainly in the domestic retail market, Bell & Evans makes a statement in the US food industry, stimulating the trend towards a more sustainable consumption. The new greenfield plant shall boost the sales of organic chicken products. Marel will fully equip two processing lines, each with a capacity of 140 bpm, prepared for 175 bpm.
For Roger Claessens, Executive Vice President of Marel Poultry, Bell & Evans is known to add maximum value to the entire chain, by maintaining highest production quality from egg to end product. Owner Scott Sechler: “Moving the bar higher than US regulations, Bell & Evans is the real US pioneer in organic chickens. It even has the world’s first organic-certified, animal welfare focused chicken hatchery. In June 2019, Bell & Evans fully transitioned to its new ‘Das Klassenbester’ chicken, a higher-welfare, grade A breed of broilers, which completely replaced the existing breed of chickens.
Like Marel, Bell & Evans focuses on animal well-being during transport from farm to harvesting plant. Its farms are located less than an hour’s drive, on average, from the processing facility and chickens are transported in state-of-the-art live bird transportation systems. Bell & Evans thrives to handle its chickens with the utmost care, so they partnered with Marel to purchase its entire Atlas automated transport system. This system eliminates the use of forklifts and minimizes stress during unloading by reducing noise, light, sound and movement to offer a smooth transition from the trailer into its Slow Induction Anesthesia (SIA).
Another key point of difference for Bell & Evans is 100% Air Chilling. Other US poultry processors produce chlorinated water chilled chicken or use a mix of water and air chilling. Since 2005, the company has utilized 100% Air Chill for 100% of its chicken production, a unique first in the industry.
Bell & Evans also commits 100% to traceability. The traceability process in the new Fredericksburg facility is unique to the US. Right from the moment of entering the processing plant until packaging, each chicken can be traced back in the process down to which flock and which farm it came from. Marel’s food processing software Innova not only ensures this traceability program but will also connect all solutions throughout the plant, collect and analyze data and offer Bell & Evans plant staff the information they need to run highly efficient operations.