January 25, 2023

West Liberty Foods opening $200M food processing center in Kansas City

Iowa-based West Liberty Foods will open a $200 million food processing center and cold storage facility in Kansas City, Missouri, expected to create 583 jobs.

The Kansas City Area Development Council announced the development in a post to its website this week.

The cold storage facility will be developed by Vertical Cold Storage. The combined operation will total 327,000 square feet and support an annual payroll of nearly $40 million.

The new operation will support the production of grab-and-go sandwiches, according to the development council post. The facilities will be located at the I-49 Industrial Center.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to expand our signature protein offerings with our new premade grab-and-go sandwich program,” West Liberty Foods CEO Brandon Achen said in the post. “Based on its proximity to key stakeholders for the project, Kansas City is the ideal location to house our newest technology, and we look forward to the growth this area has to offer.”

West Liberty representatives did not immediately return a message left by Produce Processing on Wednesday.

“Missouri is home to nearly 400 food companies, and we are excited to welcome West Liberty Foods and Vertical Cold Storage to our state’s robust food and agricultural network,” Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said. “When a company selects Missouri for a new facility, we understand it’s a major decision, and we are committed to their success in our state.”

West Liberty, founded in 1996 and headquartered in West Liberty, Iowa, produces nearly 650 million pounds of food product annually for grocery stores and restaurants across the U.S. The company also has production facilities in Utah and Illinois.

N.C.-headquartered Vertical Cold Storage has five other locations nationwide.

In the last two years, the Kansas City region has attracted food and beverage companies pledging investments of more than $486 million slated to occupy nearly 4.2 million square feet and create 1,800-plus jobs, according to the development council.

“West Liberty Foods’ decision to place a world-class facility in our community is proof that we are a growing community for all,” Jon Stephens, president and CEO of Port KC, said. “Port KC has led the efforts to transform 49 Crossing, the industrial zone that includes the I-49 Industrial Center, into a thriving area for more than 5,000 quality jobs in south Kansas City.”

Added Chris Gutierrez, president of KC SmartPort, an affiliate of the Kansas City Area Development Council: “More than 675 industrial food and beverage companies call the KC region home, thanks to our proximity to key agriculture markets, advanced logistics infrastructure and strong industry-specific talent pipeline. With nearly 27,000 people employed in the food and beverage industry and a robust network of industrial assets, Kansas City can support leading companies like West Liberty Foods and Vertical Cold Storage with the resources they need to thrive.”

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