Serving you, so you can serve others.

Since 1954, Eastern has specialized in the wholesale distribution of protein, as a leader in both the industry and the community. Our goal is to provide our customers with the highest quality service and products that fit their specific needs. Our commitment to consistent excellence is uncompromised, and we measure success in satisfied customers. Let us show you the Eastern difference today.

Our knowledgeable sales professionals have an average tenure in the protein industry of over 20 years. We know that missteps can be costly, so we focus on the details to make sure that you get just the product you need, just in time.

The relationships we’ve cemented over 70+ years with vendors around the world translate to a big advantage for our customers. Our procurement experience and scale position us uniquely to meet the evolving needs of our customers in ways others cannot.

Ever wish you knew exactly where your shipment was 24/7? With Eastern, you can. Our in-house logistics department ensures you know exactly when your shipment will arrive. We’re available 24/7 to provide all of our customers with accurate shipment tracking information and updates, so you’re always in the know, and always satisfied. That’s our promise to you.

In 1954, Eastern Poultry Distributors, Inc. was founded by John C. Rueger in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. John brokered fresh whole birds from chicken producers on the Eastern Shore of Maryland to customers in Baltimore, Washington, and Philadelphia, which is the inspiration for our company’s name.

John and Tom Rueger

While successful, Eastern remained a relatively small trading company with a few salespeople. In 1977, John’s youngest son and burgeoning entrepreneur Tom, came to work alongside his father.

Noticing an opportunity in the marketplace for further processed chicken, and eager to grow the business, Tom opened Brandywine Foods in Cochranville, Pennsylvania. As Brandywine Foods grew, so did Eastern. In 1990, Tom cut the ribbon on a second plant in Cleveland, Mississippi. Much larger and more efficient, this plant was better suited to keep up with the company’s expansion. The new facility would be home to 500 employees and double Brandywine’s capacity.

Brandywine’s growth did not go unnoticed and in 1996 Tom sold the business of 900 employees and $100 million in annual sales to Tyson Foods. The end of the Brandywine era created new opportunities for Eastern. Three key Brandywine employees, Thad Eshelman, John Duffy, and Tom Mitchell, joined Eastern and brought with them a wealth of industry and processing knowledge. The trio joined a core group of salesmen that included Jon Poole, Henry Buzgon and Joe Reid, most of whom are all still with the company. Under Tom’s leadership, the company’s growth continued and so did its reputation as a trusted business partner to the poultry industry.

Joe Reid, Ted Rueger, Henry Buzgon, and Tom Rueger in 2023

In 2003, Tom’s oldest son, Ted, joined the family business and under his leadership, Eastern continued its consistent success and growth. In 2015, Eastern rebranded to Eastern Quality Foods. Our updated name is a truer reflection of what the business has become; not just poultry, but many protein offerings.

Eastern has grown organically and through acquisitions. Today, the Eastern team is over 100 strong and services customers in the US and abroad with poultry, seafood, beef, and pork. Eastern has come a long way, yet the company remains loyal to its core values and roots as a family business. Tom still resides as chairman of the board, while his oldest son, Ted Rueger serves as CEO, and his youngest son, John, works in sales and marketing. Ted is focused on a continued commitment to serving customers while remaining true to Eastern’s core values. The future continues to look bright.

    It’s not what we sell—it’s what we stand for.
    We do exactly what we say we will, staying true to our word, our values, and ourselves. Strong character builds a strong company.
    A family that works together, grows together.
    We are united in our vision, but diverse in our backgrounds, skill sets, and experience. There’s nothing we cannot do as a team.
    We succeed when our customers succeed.
    We understand that what works today, might not work tomorrow, so we relentlessly pursue forward-thinking ways to add value for our customers. To be the best, we must get better each day.
    We make our customers’ lives easier.
    We listen to their needs, create a detailed plan of action, and follow through no matter what. We are here to serve others.
    We are protein professionals.
    We take pride in being masters of our craft, delivering products and value our customers deserve. Our expertise is what distinguishes us from the rest.

Corporate Responsibility

From our people to our business practices, Eastern is committed to operating responsibly and making a difference for our community, industry, and planet. We know that by working together with our partners, we can pioneer the next chapter in providing proteins with the highest standards.