By Austin Alonzo – courtesy of WATT Global Media, as published in the June issue of Poultry USA
A new way to do business
The operation is a significant departure from the established Poultry supply chain model in the U.S.
Founded in 2016 and designed to exclusively supply Costco, Lincoln Premium Poultry (LPP) was set up in Fremont, Nebraska, in collaboration with the Issaquah, Washington, retailer to operate and manage the asset and the business on Costco’s behalf. In practice, it is a miniaturized version of a traditional poultry integrator with only one customer: Costco.
In March 2020, the 400,000-square-foot poultry processing facility located in Fremont employed more than 1,000 and was running three lines processing about 1 million birds per week. At the time, it just launched a second shift on one line. Its plans call for running two shifts on three lines and processing more than 2 million birds per week by the end of 2020.
Costco’s interest in poultry
According to Jessica Kolterman, LPP’s director of corporate and external affairs, Fremont is currently supplying all fresh chicken products sold under the store’s Kirkland Signature brand — including the famous rotisserie chicken — to Costco’s stores in Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska. LPP will eventually supply chicken for all its stores in the western U.S.
LPP, she said, gives Costco more than a chicken raised to a specific weight and size for rotisserie roasting. Costco has tremendous influence in how the bird is raised, housed and fed; the level of animal care; the processing environment and LPP’s employment practices. Moreover, the new poultry processing operation is utilizing top-of-the-line Marel equipment from start to finish in order to maximize bird welfare and minimize labor needs.