Mistica Foods LLC a new woman-owned, beef, poultry, pork, and lamb processing company, has begun full-scale operations.
Monika Rose Walas, president and founding investor, established the firm in May 2014. Mistica Foods employs 200 people at its 40,000 square-foot production plant and distribution facility in Addison IL, and currently serves several national and international customers.
“From small-batch smokehouse cooking and steaks handcut by expert butchers, to high-speed in-line technology, we are focused on bringing wholesome, high quality products to our customers cost-effectively,” Walas said.
Mistica Foods is fully staffed with meat processing and food science professionals. The procurement team includes industry experts in protein purchasing, forecasting, and hedging.
Walas is also producing product and creating capacity beyond the Addison facility by establishing a business model that capitalizes on available excess capacity of processors nationwide in an effort to build a sustainable, environmentally and economically sound organization.
“By utilizing the excess capacity of our co-pack manufacturing partners—built up during the chain-restaurant boom years—we are reducing our environmental footprint by using that idle line time rather than building new operations from scratch. This also allows us to support our partners’ local economies by retaining and adding jobs created by our business,” Walas said.
Previously, Walas headed the strategic innovation team at protein processor Quantum Foods LLC. She found new ways to bring products to market and managed the commercialization process from concept to post-production. In addition, Walas enhanced Quantum’s customer relationships with her solution-based product offerings, which successfully attained increased market share for her customers.
The name Mistica Foods was inspired by Walas’ family’s Catholic faith. After a deal by a purchaser to acquire her previous employer Quantum Foods failed to materialize, she prayed to Maria Rosa Mistica for protection and guidance in the role she began to pursue.
Maria Rosa Mistica is the same icon her father prayed to when contemplating the opening of his first venture more than 24 years ago. The icon is a figure in her family that Walas wanted to incorporate in Mistica Foods.
Walas (formerly Bleka) grew up in the meat manufacturing business. “I would ask my dad to take me along with him to work on Saturdays from the age of 5, and was just always intrigued with the entire process. His work ethic and determination is something that has definitely shaped me,” she said.
Learn more at www.misticafoods.com.