Major food processing center and cold storage facility to open in Kansas City, investing $199.6 million and creating 583 jobs

January 25, 2023

West Liberty Foods, a leading protein processor, announced today it will open a food processing center in Kansas City, attached to supporting cold storage facility to be developed by Vertical Cold Storage. The companies are expected to invest a combined $199.6 million and create 583 jobs.

“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,” said Governor Mike Parson. “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. We are looking forward to watching these two companies grow right here in Missouri.”

West Liberty Foods ranks among the continent’s top 50 protein processors, producing nearly 650 million pounds of food product each year for grocery stores and restaurants across the country. The company’s food processing center and cold storage facility will be directly connected and support the production of grab-and-go sandwiches. The facility will be located at the I-49 Logistics Center, a 1340-acre development in southwest Kansas City developed in partnership with Port KC.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to expand our signature protein offerings with our new premade grab-and-go sandwich program,” said Brandon Achen, CEO of West Liberty Foods. “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 Foods is headquartered in Iowa with additional production facilities in Utah and Illinois. The new 327,000-square-foot Kansas City facility represents the company’s first expansion into Missouri. The accompanying cold storage space operated by Vertical Cold Storage, which provides comprehensive cold storage services for frozen and refrigerated foods, will be the company’s sixth location nationwide.

The Kansas City region, where 85 percent of the U.S. population can be reached in two days or less, has experienced rapid growth as a food and beverage logistics hub for the U.S. in the last several years. Kansas City’s prime accessibility has contributed to the continued attraction of companies to the market’s $125.4 billion food and beverage industry, which is ranked eighth among the top 50 food manufacturing markets in the U.S. for three-year job growth. In the last two years, the Kansas City region has attracted food and beverage companies pledging to create more than 1,800 jobs, invest more than $486 million, and occupy nearly 4.2 million square feet.

“We’re excited for the positive impact this significant investment will have on the Kansas City region,” said Maggie Kost, Acting Director of the Department of Economic Development. “West Liberty Foods and Vertical Cold Storage are the latest of a growing number of food companies that recognize Missouri as an ideal business location. We appreciate our partners who helped secure this project and create more opportunities for Missourians and their families.”

For this expansion, West Liberty Foods will benefit from the Missouri Works program, a tool that helps companies expand and retain workers by providing access to capital through withholdings or tax credits for job creation. The company is also receiving assistance from Missouri One Start, a division of the Department of Economic Development. Missouri One Start assists eligible businesses with their recruitment and training needs.

What others are saying

“Food production is one of the most active sectors in Missouri, and our strengths in food and agriculture are a huge advantage for growing companies like West Liberty Foods and Vertical Cold Storage,” said Subash Alias, CEO of Missouri Partnership. “These two businesses are industry leaders, and our state has the workforce, infrastructure and business innovation to support them as they continue to grow their successful companies.”

“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,” said Chris Gutierrez, President of KC SmartPort, an affiliate of the Kansas City Area Development Council. “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.”

About West Liberty Foods

Founded in 1996 under the guiding principles of the Iowa Turkey Growers Cooperative and recognized as one of the top 50 protein processors in North America, West Liberty Foods is a food company who manufactures signature meat and poultry products that can be found in well-known grocery stores and top restaurant chains nationwide.

To learn more about West Liberty Foods, visit wlfoods.com.

About Vertical Cold Storage

Vertical Cold Storage is a full-service logistics solution provider focused on building, developing and operating temperature-controlled facilities. Vertical Cold emphasizes customer care and the satisfaction of supply chain professionals while deploying industry-leading technology.

To learn more about Vertical Cold Storage, visit verticalcold.com.

About the Missouri Department of Economic Development

The Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) works to create an environment that encourages economic growth by supporting Missouri’s businesses and diverse industries, strengthening our communities, developing a talented and skilled workforce, and maintaining a high quality of life. As one team built around the customer and driven by data, DED aspires to be the best economic development department in the Midwest. Through its various initiatives, DED is helping create opportunities for Missourians to prosper.

For the latest updates on DED’s current or future programs and initiatives, visit DED’s website.

About the Missouri Works Program

As the state’s number one incentive tool for expansion and retention, the Missouri Works Program helps businesses access capital through withholdings or tax credits to embark on facility expansions and create jobs. This program can also help businesses purchase equipment to maintain its facility in Missouri.

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