West Liberty Foods LLC has expanded and diversified its product line with the startup of beef cutting operations at its Bolingbrook, Ill. location. In its initial phase of operation, the facility is producing value-added hand cut and machine cut steaks such as T-Bones, Ribeyes, Kansas City strips and New York strips. The Bolingbrook facility is also producing hamburger, pork chops and boneless, skinless, flavored chicken breasts.

Ed Ligas directs the venture as vice president of beef operations. A 30-year veteran and respected expert in the meat cutting industry, Ligas and his family founded Stampede Meat in Bridgeview, Ill.

“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. “In directing this exciting new venture, Ed Ligas is a perfect addition to our team. His wealth of knowledge and expertise in beef cutting operations allows us expand our product offerings for both new and existing customers.”

By incorporating the most rigorous food safety programs in the industry, the Bolingbrook facility is capable of producing millions of pounds of beef each month through the addition of 25 employees and numerous production lines.

According to Ligas, West Liberty Foods’ marketing efforts will target the retail, home delivery, food service and fast casual foods segments.

“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,” said Ligas. “At West Liberty Foods, we’re thrilled to supply that demand but we’re also extremely pleased to bring more economic benefit to northeastern Illinois.”

Ligas also stated that production and start-up operations have been running smoothly. “The product being graded is of amazing quality and consistency. The team we’ve assembled has been extraordinary and has far exceeded expectations.”

Today’s beef operation is the latest round of expansion and diversification at the Illinois facility since West Liberty Foods purchased the shuttered facility from Quantum Foods in June 2014. West Liberty resumed plant operations last summer and in November 2014, announced construction plans for a 170,000-square-foot cold storage facility that represents an economic investment of more than $20 million to the local economy. The cold storage facility will be operational in spring 2016.

The Bolingbrook plant is one of four manufacturing locations for West Liberty Foods. Additional plant locations include West Liberty and Mount Pleasant, Iowa and Tremonton, Utah. The company is headquartered in West Liberty, Iowa and employs over 2,000 employees company-wide.

Source: West Liberty Foods