Tyson Foods, the biggest U.S. meat processor, said on Tuesday it would build a $320 million poultry complex in eastern Kansas to meet increasing consumer demand for chicken.
The company said the new unit, which will produce pre-packaged trays of chicken for grocery stores, would begin production in mid-2019.
The unit, which can process 1.25 million birds per week, would consist of a processing plant, hatchery and feed mill and employ about 1,600 people, Tyson said.
Sales of chicken have increased as consumers seek more protein in their diets. It is also cheaper than beef and pork and is considered more healthy.
Tyson (tsn) said in a post-earnings call in August that it was finding it difficult to meet the increased demand for fully cooked chicken and raw meat in the United States.
U.S. per capita consumption of chicken is expected to hit a record high this year, according to National Chicken Council’s annual data that runs from 1965.