West Liberty Foods, L.L.C. can rightfully call itself one of the leaders in the United States’ turkey industry. Established in 1996, the meat processing company is now owned and operated by the Iowa Turkey Growers Cooperative with four meat processing plants in Iowa and Utah.
As of 2006, the company was the 12th largest turkey-based company in the country – truly, an achievement because of the stiff competition. Emphasis must be made, however, that West Liberty Foods primarily manufactures products that its customers can market and sell under their own brand names. The company also sells 10% of its products under its own brand name with the 90% sold to organizational customers.
In addition to its turkey products, West Liberty Foods also produces other meat products from beef, chicken and pork.
Each of the company’s four plants has specific manufacturing functions in the entering process from slaughtering the animals to packaging the finished products. The West Liberty, Iowa plant is an exemption as it has the facilities for the entire process from preparing the raw materials (i.e., slaughtering) to processing and packaging the finished meats; it is also the first turkey processing plant to receive the ISO 14001 certification in the United States. The Mount Pleasant, Iowa plant is only involved in packaging the finished product while the Sigourney, Iowa plant is focused on processing the raw materials.
West Liberty Foods also maintains separate research and development as well as laboratory testing facilities, which are located in adjacent buildings from the West Liberty plant. The research and development facility is involved in testing raw and finished (i.e., cooked) products; creating products; and inventing packaging innovations, among others. The lab testing facility performs product quality testing.
Such is the passionate commitment to world-class products that West Liberty Foods has been recognized by the industry with several awards. These include the 2005 USDA Rural Development Economic Vision Award; the Hormel Spirit of Excellence Award for several years; and the 2005 Iowa Recycling Association’s Best Business Recycling Program, among others.