As part of efforts to improve the overall performance of its prepared foods business, Tyson Foods, Inc., Springdale, Ark., announced plans to discontinue operations at two plants. The closings will enable the poultry processor to use available production capacity at some of its other prepared foods facilities. 

The pepperoni plant in Jefferson, Wis., and the Chicago facility, which makes prepared foods for the hospitality industry, are expected to cease operations during the second half of the company’s fiscal year 2016, which ends Oct. 1, 2016. The decision will affect approximately 880 employees.

“We examined many options before we turned down this road,” says Donnie King, president of North American operations. “This affects the lives of our team members and their families, making it a very difficult decision. But, after long and careful consideration, we’ve determined we can better serve our customers by shifting production and equipment to more modern and efficient locations.”

The planned closures are due to a combination of factors, including changing product needs, the age of both facilities and prohibitive cost of renovations, as well as the distance of the Chicago plant from its raw material supply base.

Tyson Foods bought the Chicago plant in 1994. At the time, it was privately owned and made meals exclusively for airlines. Today, it produces tempura chicken, meatballs, crepes, omelets, soups, sauces and Chicken Cordon Bleu.  

The Jefferson facility, which produces sliced pepperoni and ham for pizza toppings as well as deli and foodservice applications, was part of Tyson Foods’ acquisition of IBP, Inc., in 2001.