W.L. Foods named Vendor of the Year by Subway

By Chris Steinbach · Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Jared Fogle might not know it, but all of those Subway sandwiches he eats give him a strong tie to West Liberty.

The 34-year-old Fogle became famous for the weight he lost while eating only sandwiches from Subway restaurants. He has since become a spokesman for Subway Restaurants in its advertising campaigns. And the odds are pretty good that the meat on the sandwiches he eats came from West Liberty Foods, which last month was named 2012 Vendor of the Year by Subway and its Independent Purchasing Cooperative. It is the second time West Liberty Foods has won the award.

“This is the single-biggest award they give out,” said Ed Garrett, West Liberty Foods president and chief executive. He called it something every supplier “works for, but only one gets.”

He led a group of about 10 company employees who accepted the award on July 29 during a ceremony in Orlando, Fla. “It’s really a company award,” Garrett said.

West Liberty Foods annually sells 215 million pounds of sliced turkey, chicken strips and patties, sliced ham, roast beef, pepperoni, salami and cold cuts to about 70 percent of the nation’s Subway restaurants. That makes Subway the company’s largest customer.

“I look at them as a true partner,” Garrett said.

Founded in 1965, the Connecticut-based Subway restaurant chain is one of the world’s largest franchises with more than 37,000 locations in 100 countries.

“West Liberty Foods has continued its investment in state-of-the-art facilities, implemented the most advanced food-safety protocols, demonstrated strategic vision and innovation in their collaboration with Subway and the IPC, and has achieved national recognition for its work in the area of social responsibility,” Jan Risi, president of the IPC, said in a statement. “Across the board, West Liberty has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the Subway brand and an unsurpassed level of excellence in all areas of their business.”

In addition to the quality of its products, Garrett said his company was recognized because of its environmental efforts. West Liberty Foods facilities in Tremonton, Utah, and Mount Pleasant, both of which have been verified as landfill-free, divert a combined 5 million pounds of waste annually from their local landfills.

“It was more for being a well-rounded company,” Garrett said of the award. “Not just because we deliver lunch meat.”

West Liberty Foods on Tuesday celebrated the recent landfill-free verification of its facility in Mount Pleasant. This effort will successfully divert nearly 2 million pounds of annual waste from the local landfill, according to the company.

The company’s plant in Tremonton, Utah, has also been designated as landfill-free.

West Liberty Foods is a leading co-packer, private label manufacturer, and foodservice supplier of sliced deli meats. It supplies products to many well-known retail and foodservice chains nationwide.
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