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Costco Builds New Poultry Processing Plant

Posted by Jim McLaughlin on

24 Aug 2017

Over the last three years, the Marel Poultry Team has been working hard, together with representatives from Costco Wholesale and their newly formed poultry processing company, Lincoln Premium Poultry, on a state-of-the-art greenfield plant in Fremont Nebraska.


This order marks the largest single order to date for both the North America Region and Marel as a whole. Marel, in partnership with its customers, is transforming the way food is processed by enabling our customers to deliver affordable and high quality food in a sustainable way.


Marel Poultry has the privilege to supply three complete slaughter lines for the new plant, from live receiving up to chilling. Each line will utilize Marel Poultry’s newest live receiving system, ATLAS. From there, the plant will run complete Marel Poultry kill and evisceration systems with newest technology up to chilling. For chilling, Marel Poultry will complete three Shock/Maturation airchill systems, complete with automatic transfer into the system from evisceration and out of the system to the distribution line.

Post chilling, Marel Poultry will supply two distribution lines complete with weighing and vision grading to plan all downstream processing activities. After whole bird removal, birds will be cut up and deboned through four Marel Poultry cut up lines. Deboning will be performed using five of Marel Poultry’s newest AMF-i cap deboners and two Marel Poultry in-line Thigh Deboning Systems within cut up. All deboned parts will pass through one of five Marel SensorX machines for bone detection.

Utilizing highest automation, parts will be automatically presented to thermoformed packs through a combination of Marel robots and Multihead weighers. Each pack will be metal detected, labeled, and carton boxed via complete Marel weigh price labeling lines. Similarly, deli and rotisserie birds will be labeled and carton boxed through Marel equipment.

Processing will be entirely controlled through Marel Innova software, integrated throughout the plant. Innova will monitor all incoming weights, defects, processing yields, quality control, and equipment monitoring, as well as control cut up and packaging to fill order requirements on a real-time basis. Innova will also be integrated to third party grower software, ERP, and robotic palletizing systems being used in the plant.


Costco has purchased 414 acres in Fremont and the site will hold a chicken hatchery, feed mill and processing plant. The entire supply chain will be concentrated in a 100 mile radius. The goal is to produce two million chickens a week or 25,200 birds per hour. This new facility will process 6.0 lb average live weight birds with a focus on highest quality A-grade for the Costco rotisserie program, while also supplying bagged deli whole birds and thermoformed saddle packed parts for the wholesale grocery chain. The processing plant will handle about a third of the raw and rotisserie chicken sold at Costco stores nationwide. Marel Poultry will deliver the system by the end of 2018 with a start-up around April 2019.

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