Best Corporate Steward - Finalist, Hormel Foods Corporation


Hormel Foods Corporation, based in Austin, Minn., is a multinational manufacturer and marketer of food and meat products for consumers throughout the world.

During the past five years, Hormel Foods demonstrated strong economic performance, and recently reported an increase in sales of 33% since fiscal year 2005. Under CEO Jeffrey Ettinger’s leadership, Hormel Foods has grown through strategic acquisitions and a continued focus on new product innovation.

In 2009, Hormel Foods entered a joint-venture agreement with Herdez del Fuerte to market and sell Mexican foods in the United States – and has since announced additional acquisitions that strengthen its product portfolio to help ensure long-term growth.

The company demonstrated its confidence in its continued growth by authorizing a two-for-one split of the company's common stock in December 2010.

Doing Well and Doing Good

"Our Way serves as a guide for how to conduct business responsibly in the areas of people, process, products, performance and philanthropy. It represents a vision for the future as Hormel Foods continues to “elevate the everyday” for its consumers, investors, employees and the communities in which it operates.

"Internally, the company engages employees and “does well by doing good” by creating an environment where careers are fostered, people make a difference and integrity is absolute. As a result, more than 58 percent of Hormel Foods employees have worked for the company for five or more years – significantly higher than the industry standard."

Corporate Stewardship Highlights

Principles Platform

The principles platform at Hormel Foods outlines its commitment to doing business responsibly in five key areas: people, process, products, performance and philanthropy.

People: To ensure an engaging and mutually beneficial environment for the people who make its business possible, Hormel Foods commits to providing a diverse and safe working environment, and strictly adheres to its code of ethical business conduct.

In 2010, for Total Case Incident Rate (TCIR), Hormel Foods outperformed the Bureau of Labor Statistics industry average by 27%, with a rate of 5.0. Since 2006, Hormel Foods has reduced its TCIR by 45%.

Employees have access to high-quality training and professional development programs as well as the option to participate in wellness initiatives.

Process: In order to promote environmental sustainability in its day-to-day operations – in its corporate offices, plants and company-owned farms – Hormel Foods focuses on reducing energy and water usage, solid waste production and greenhouse gas emissions by improving processes and implementing conservation initiatives.

Total water usage has been reduced to 11% when normalized for production since 2006 – an absolute reduction of 459 million gallons. The company is also committed to the health of its animals and increasing awareness about responsible animal care practices.

Products: Hormel Foods concentrates its efforts on the production of safe, high-quality products that exceed industry standards to deliver wholesome, nutritious and great-tasting products to its consumers.

Performance: In order to maintain the highest integrity and success of its business, Hormel Foods is dedicated to the highest standard of transparency and accountability and illustrates this through its annual financial report, as well as its annual corporate responsibility report, which aligns with GRI reporting standards at the A level.

Philanthropy: To serve its communities, Hormel Foods aligns its core competencies to the needs of the community by investing in education and hunger. It also has supported the Hormel Institute’s food-based research on health-related issues.

Strategic Social Investments

1. On Our Way to Ending Hunger:

Hormel Foods is a company with expertise in food manufacturing, distribution, and – very importantly for the hungry in this world – protein. For 120 years, the company has produced high-quality, differentiated products for its consumers and has shared these items to support hunger relief.

Now, Hormel Foods is formalizing its efforts to end hunger through a multi-pronged approach with specific goals and partnerships. Highlights include:

  • Development and delivery of Spammy™, a vitamin and mineral-fortified, shelf-stable turkey spread, designed specifically by Hormel Foods to help address childhood malnutrition throughout the world. In March 2011, the company made an initial three-year commitment to deliver 1 million cans of Spammy™ to in-need families in Guatemala through partnerships with Food for the Poor and Caritas Arquidiocesana. Guatemala was selected because its poverty rate is more than 50% and the chronic malnutrition rate is the highest in the Western hemisphere.
  • Through its 2011 Plant Community Donation Program, Hormel Foods is donating thousands of dollars to more than a dozen of its U.S. manufacturing facilities to share with nonprofits in their respective communities to fight hunger. Plant managers are highly involved in the donations and work with their employees to choose local nonprofits to be recipients of the funds.
  • Hormel Foods has made significant donations of food and funds to relief efforts around the world, including Joplin, Mo., following the recent tornadoes, Japan, following the earthquake and resulting tsunami, and Haiti, to help those affected by last year’s earthquake.

2. Education and Research

Hormel Foods is highly committed to supporting education in its community through the Hormel Foods Charitable Trust fund, which is now in its 44th year. This fund awards scholarships to exemplary students entering undergraduate colleges.

Additionally, the company supports local schools through donations and continually provides significant financial support to the Hormel Institute, a department of the Graduate School at the University of Minnesota, whose mission is to conduct research and provide education in the biological sciences with applications in medicine and agriculture.

The Hormel Institute has grown to be an emerging world leader in cancer research, and completed a building expansion project, in which Hormel Foods made a $5 million contribution.

Corporate Leadership

Jeffrey M. Ettinger, president and CEO, has consistently supported transparent communications and led the company’s efforts to provide stakeholders with data on its social and environmental performance. As a result of these efforts, in 2009, 2010 and 2011, Hormel Foods was recognized among the 100 Best Corporate Citizens in the United States, compiled by Corporate Responsibility magazine, and in 2010, Hormel Foods was added to the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index for the first time.

In addition, Ettinger is the founding chair of the company’s diversity and inclusion council, which aims to meet the growing needs of its diverse workforce and consumer base.

Ettinger views the company’s expertise in the food industry as an ideal way to help those less fortunate, and is actively involved the company’s fight against hunger. He has visited Guatemala to oversee Spammy donations firsthand. Ettinger also serves on the boards of Hunger Free Minnesota, Grocery Manufacturers of America, The Hormel Foundation, Austin Medical Center Foundation, Minnesota Business Partnership and is past chairman of the American Meat Institute.