Tyson’s 2014 purchase of Hillshire Brands for nearly $8 billion has paid off big time for the largest meatpacking company in the U.S. The additions of brands like Jimmy Dean, Ball Park, and Sara Lee helped Tyson hit record earnings in its prepared foods business last fiscal year. Profits at the company overall were up 41%. The Hillshire deal is part of the company’s strategy to focus on less commoditized products, an approach that also led to record earnings in its chicken operation. Tyson had a tough year in beef due to tight supply for cattle, which has led the company to cut back on its beef processing operations. Tyson is increasingly looking abroad for growth, although its chicken production in China took a hit as economic growth there slowed.
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The decision by the U.S.'s largest meatpacker continues a massive paradigm shift for the meat industry, but some already say the move isn't enough.