West Liberty Foods starts up beef production
by MEAT+POULTRY staff
WEST LIBERTY, Iowa – Widely known for its expertise in co-packing for QSR, retail and foodservice customers, West Liberty Foods is diversifying its offerings to not only include sliced and individually quick-frozen poultry and meat, but now whole-muscle beef cuts, ground beef, and value-added chicken breasts. From its Bolingbrook, Ill. plant, WLF is hand and machine cutting strip steaks, T-bones and ribeyes as well as pork chops, flavored chicken breasts and hamburger. The plant was formerly operated by Quantum Foods and was purchased by WLF in June 2014 after it was shuttered. Operations resumed at the facility this past summer and in November, WLF announced plans for a 170,000 sq. ft. cold-storage facility, which will begin serving the plant by the spring of 2016.
“The startup of this beef operation at Bolingbrook is significant for our continued growth and product diversification,” said Ed Garrett, president and CEO of West Liberty Foods. The company currently operates plants in West Liberty and Mount Pleasant, Iowa, Trementon, Utah in addition to the new facility in Bolingbrook. Ed Ligas, founder of Stampede Meat, Bridgeview, Ill, has been appointed vice president of beef operations at the newly renovated facility.
“Ed Ligas is a perfect addition to our team,” said Garrett. “His wealth of knowledge and expertise in beef cutting operations allows us to expand our product offerings for both new and existing customers.”
Utilizing multiple production lines and 25 employees, the beef business will serve customers in the foodservice, retail and home-delivery segments, according to Ligas.
“It was clear through our market research there remains a great demand for quality, value-added beef products – we had nearly two months of orders before we even started production,” he said. Ligas added that the start-up of the beef operations has been successful.
“The product being graded is of amazing quality and consistency. The team we’ve assembled has been extraordinary and has far exceeded expectations.”