Tyson started the '80s with the acquisition of Honeybear Foods in Neosho, Missouri. Further-processed products were taking off. The company's Chick 'n Quick line was becoming more prominent in grocery stores and, by 1982, it was the only brand of chicken patty sold in all 50 states. Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) products were becoming popular with military installations and institutional food companies across the country.
In 1983, Tyson continued to diversify its array of products with the purchase of Mexican Original® in Fayetteville, Arkansas. One year later, the company topped one-billion dollars in sales. By now, Tyson's strategy of growth through acquisition was firmly entrenched. That same year, Tyson bought Valmac, an Arkansas-based poultry company, which brought approximately $400 million in sales to the table and several major restaurant accounts.
The 80s were truly years of growth. The purchases of Valmac Industries and Lane Processing increased Tyson sales dramatically. In 1986, Tyson claimed the number-one poultry-producing slot, surpassing ConAgra. Toward the end of the decade, ConAgra had become Tyson's nemesis. The two companies were locked in a battle to take over Holly Farms.
Finally, in 1989, after a two-year struggle, Tyson won the fight, and Holly Farms came under the Tyson umbrella. The Holly acquisition again doubled the size of Tyson Foods, bringing the total number of people employed to approximately 48,000 and sales to more than $2.5 billion. The Holly acquisition also expanded Tyson's protein offerings. For the first time in company history, Tyson was processing beef and pork.
That same year, Tyson entered into partnership with Trasgo, a Mexico-based poultry company, to create an international partnership with Mexico and Japan called CITRA.