Mistica Foods, LLC a newly formed, woman-owned, beef, poultry, pork and lamb processing company that will focus on providing custom menu and supply chain solutions to foodservice as well as retail channels across the country, begins its full-scale operations today.
Monika Rose Walas, President and founding investor with extensive meat processing, sales, marketing, and operations experience, established the firm in May 2014. Mistica Foods, headquartered in Addison, Ill., employs 200 people at its 40,000 square-foot production plant and distribution facility, and currently serves several national and international customers.
“We are excited about the opportunity to play an important and growing role in today’s value-added protein product category,” Walas said. “We have been creating significant momentum with this newly formed company by focusing on increasing our customers’ market share as well as retaining their current market share by consistently providing innovative and on-trend menu solutions as well as cost-savings strategies,” she said.
“From small batch smokehouse cooking and steaks hand cut by expert butchers, to high-speed in-line technology, we are focused on bringing wholesome, high quality products to our customers, cost-effectively,” Walas added.
Mistica Foods is fully staffed with meat processing and food science professionals. The procurement team includes industry experts in protein purchasing, forecasting and hedging.
Walas is also producing product and creating capacity beyond the Addison facility by establishing a business model that capitalizes on the available excess capacity of processors nationwide in an effort to build a sustainable, environmentally and economically sound organization.
“By utilizing the excess capacity of our co-pack manufacturing partners, built up during the chain-restaurant boom years, we are reducing our environmental footprint by using that idle line time rather than building new operations from scratch. This also allows us to support our partners’ local economies by retaining and adding jobs created by our business,” Walas said.
“We have taken our team’s food science, culinary, quality assurance, procurement, and analytical marketing talent and applied it to the business model outlined. By doing so, we have created the most cost-effective and environmentally-friendly way to compete in today’s food processing arena,” Walas added.
Previously, Walas headed the strategic innovation team at Quantum Foods, LLC, an industry-leading protein processor. She found new ways to bring products to market and managed the commercialization process from concept to post-production. In addition, Walas enhanced Quantum’s well-established and long-standing customer relationships with her solution-based product offerings, which successfully attained increased market share for her customers.
The name Mistica Foods was inspired by Walas’ family’s devout Catholic faith. After a deal by a purchaser to acquire her previous employer Quantum Foods LLC failed to materialize, she prayed to Maria Rosa Mistica for protection and guidance in the role she began to pursue.
Maria Rosa Mistica is the same icon her father prayed to when contemplating the opening of his first venture over 24 years ago. The icon is a meaningful figure in her family that Walas wanted to incorporate in her new venture, Mistica Foods.
Walas (formerly Bleka) grew up in the meat manufacturing business. “I would ask my dad to take me along with him to work on Saturdays from the age of 5, and was just always intrigued with the entire process. His work ethic and determination is something that has definitely shaped me,” she said.
“Just as my dad was a pioneer in his time within the industry, I feel Mistica will be as well. For the most part, the meat manufacturing industry represents an antiquated model in need of reform in order to keep up with the quickly changing environment. I am excited for the challenge and have assembled an amazing team. We are ready to make a splash and rejuvenate the industry,” Walas said.
According to Walas, “Many have asked our team how we were able to get Mistica Foods up and running so quickly. Quite honestly, without God’s intervention it would be impossible.”
“The entire team has worked extremely hard, keeping focus on one thing: supporting our customers’ success by providing them with great products and service. With hard work, and a lot of prayers, the pieces have fallen together unbelievably well,” Walas added.
Source: Mistica Foods LLC