Prestage Foods’ New Turkey Processing Plant Uses Automation to Boost Efficiency and Benefit Workers

Prestage Foods’ new turkey processing plant automates the most difficult tasks for workers and uses state-of-the-art tech for added efficiency, food safety, and sustainability.


I’m Michael Costa, senior editor for ProFood World Magazine, and I’m in Camden, South Carolina, visiting one of our Manufacturing Innovation Award winners for 2023. This is Prestage Foods’ state-of-the-art, highly automated, greenfield turkey processing plant. Let’s have a look inside.

Prestage made long-term investments in automation to increase efficiency and ease the labor challenges common in the meat industry.

The result – a plant that processes up to 48,000 turkeys daily with less than half the workers needed before automation, saving $22 million in labor costs annually. 

It’s the only plant in the Western Hemisphere to use an industrial scale air-chilling system for turkeys. That adds food safety by avoiding dirty water baths, traceability for each turkey in the system, and sustainability with 95% water savings.

All this automation benefits workers too. The most difficult and repetitive tasks are automated or made easier, and as a result, employees enjoy the industry’s first single-shift, 10-hour, four-day workweek.

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