Marel fully equips Bell & Evans’ state-of-the-art plant

100% committed to produce only premium chicken products

Bell Evans New Harvesting Facility Rendering 02

US premium poultry producer Bell & Evans and Marel have teamed up to construct a state-of-the-art greenfield poultry processing plant in Fredericksburg, Pennsylvania. The two companies share the same vision for sustainability, animal well-being and food safety.

Selling its premium products mainly on the domestic retail market, Bell & Evans really makes a statement in the US food industry, stimulating the trend towards a more sustainable consumption. The new greenfield plant will certainly boost the sales of organic chicken products.

Maximum value

Marel will fully equip the processing plant, including two processing lines, each with a capacity of 8,400 bph [140 bpm], but prepared for 10,500 bph [175 bpm]. “We are very pleased to cooperate with Bell & Evans in this milestone project because we share the same values,” says 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. The company recognizes that only a strong partnership, covering the entire processing line can raise the quality of poultry processing to the same high level. We’re happy that Marel can contribute to this final link in their value chain.”

100% Rule

“At Bell & Evans, we believe that if you’re committed to do the right thing, you should commit 100%. We call it the 100% Rule,” says owner Scott Sechler. An important part of Bell & Evans’ 100% rule is that the company is fully committed to premium and organic chicken. It even has the world’s first organic-certified, animal welfare focused chicken hatchery. In June 2019, Bell & Evans fully transitioned to ‘Das Klassenbester’ chicken, a higher-welfare, grade A breed of broilers, which completely replaced the existing breed of chickens.

Humane treatment

Chicken well-being is a priority in Bell & Evans’ 100% Rule. For more than 20 years, Bell & Evans chickens have been raised without antibiotics and within a unique, low stress management system from egg to farm to processing and including transportation. Bell & Evans’ standards significantly exceed those of USDA Certified Organic. Bell & Evans focuses on animal well-being during transport from farm to processing 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 Breaded Meatballs

An important part of Bell & Evans’ 100% rule is that the company is fully committed to premium and organic chicken

Minimize stress

As Bell & Evans’ aim is to handle its chickens with the utmost care, the company partnered with Marel to purchase the ATLAS automated transport system. This system eliminates the use of forklifts and minimizes stress during unload. The reduction of noise, light, sound and movement offers a smooth transition from the trailer into anesthetization. In 2011 Bell & Evans first introduced Slow Induction Anesthesia (SIA), a more humane version of Controlled Atmosphere Stunning. Humane anesthesia was again high on the priorities for the new processing plant. It was, therefore, an easy decision for Bell & Evans to opt for multistage CAS SmoothFlow anesthetization.

Air chilling

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 chilling for 100% of its chicken production, a unique first in the industry. “The reason why is obvious, “Scott Sechler notes. “Air chilling is a significant contributor to the tenderness and flavor of the meat as compared to the conventional water chilling system. Air chilling nets a better product. If the goal is to produce the best chicken possible, you should use it.” Air chilling is Bell & Evans’ way to transform US food processing and provide another level of quality to the consumer. It’s not surprising that the company partners with Marel, for decades the authority in air chilling with a large technical patent portfolio.


Scott Sechler adds, “In our new plant, we will build a conveyor line within our air chill system to chill our giblets with the chickens like they do in Europe.” After 100% Air Chill, products are distributed and cut-up in a Marel ACM-NT line, including a Q-Wing solution for wing part selection. Unique to the US are the automated in-line thigh and drumstick deboning systems, already an upcoming trend in Europe. “In fact, we’re a European-minded company that’s located in the United States.”

Traceability from farm to fork

Bell & Evans also commits 100% to traceability. The traceability process in the new Fredericksburg facility is unique to the US. Right from 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. “Marel is the only company in the world that has all the pieces figured out and in place together to offer a truly remarkable poultry processing system that I’m proud to use in our new processing plant,” concludes Scott Sechler.

poultry traceability

Bell & Evans also commits 100% to traceability

About Bell & Evans

Bell & Evans is America’s oldest branded chicken company, celebrating 125 years of business and 10 years of organic production. Bell & Evans is the industry pioneer of all-natural chicken and Raised Without Antibiotics and established the highest set of animal welfare standards in the industry. From its World’s First Organic Certified, Animal-Welfare-Focused Chicken Hatchery to Slow Induction Anesthesia and 100% Air Chill, Bell & Evans is passionate about raising chickens responsibly using common sense practices to produce only premium chicken.

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