Tom Hayes says he wants his company to become the global leader in producing "clean" meat.

Elisabeth Sherman
November 02, 2017

Tyson Foods is the biggest producer of the chicken in the United States. People who love chicken try to not think of poultry farms—chickens crammed together in dirty cages are probably the first things that come to mind. But Tom Hayes, the CEO of Tyson Foods, wants to change that perception with real action.

While speaking with CNBC, Hayes said that he thinks the biggest food producers in the country should be investing in ways to become more sustainable.

“Here's the issue: If we're going to feed nine and a half billion people around the world by 2050, we have to be part of the solution. Big food has to get in the ballgame,” he told Jim Cramer, host of the show Mad Money.

And Hayes isn’t just blowing hot air, here. He really is committed to the challenge: Recently, Tyson Foods invested in Beyond Meat, a company which produces a vegan burger patty. It’s also among the many fast food restaurants and poultry producers in America that have promised to end the use of antibiotics in its chickens.

When Cramer questioned whether or not other food companies will be able to completely eradicate antibiotics from their livestock, Hayes answered with confidence.

“It’s a lot of work, but it can be done,” he said.

Hayes not only wants his company to be a part of the movement toward more sustainable meat production, he wants to “lead it.”

“Our strategic intent is to be the world's best, most sustainable protein supplier, bar none,” he said.

Though he was otherwise cagey about the company’s aspirations to expand into a global company, Hayes was clear that Tyson Foods wants to take its message of sustainable meat abroad. For the CEO of a huge corporation, Hayes seems particularly in tune to growing health food trends.

“People want cleaner foods,” he said. “They want transparency [and] they want to know where the food was produced.”