Hormel progress includes health and wellness focus

by Eric Schroeder
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AUSTIN, MINN. — Hormel Foods Corp. sent 7,275 fewer tons of solid waste to landfills and dedicated 40% of its product innovation to health and wellness during fiscal 2009, according to the company’s Corporate Responsibility Report issued May 4. The initiatives were just two of many highlights identified by Hormel in its third full report covering environmental and social performance.

“Every day we endeavor to follow the principles of ‘Our Way’ — our corporate values structure — as embodied in people, process, products, performance and philanthropy,” said Jeffrey M. Ettinger, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “The goals established in our report tell the story of our commitment, our progress and our future plans in each of these key areas.”

Hormel said it continues to make good progress on its “Go for $2B by 2012” initiative, which aims for the company to achieve $2 billion in total sales of products created since 2000 by the year 2012. In fiscal 2009, more than 20% of the company’s $6.5 billion in sales was generated from these products.

On the innovation front, Hormel said it ended fiscal 2009 with more than 300 projects under review. Of that total, 40% was focused on health and wellness, the company said. Hormel said it has set a goal within its Grocery Products division to reduce the sodium levels in all existing products to less than 1,000 mg per serving and to introduce all new products following this standard.

Hormel said it reduced water consumption by 9% in fiscal 2009 compared with 2006 levels, ahead of its goal of reducing water consumption by 2% per year for five years using 2006 as a benchmark.

The company also said it increased recycling to 38% in fiscal 2009, which compared with 32% in fiscal 2008. Hormel has a stated goal of achieving 50% recycling of total waste by November 2011.

“We continue to help all facilities meet and exceed the companywide goal to recycle 50% of total waste by 2011,” the company noted in its 2009 C.S.R. “Our plants continue to conduct recycling awareness initiatives and focus on solid waste reduction.”

Hormel said it reduced packaging by 4.2 million lbs during 2009 (ahead of its goal of 3 million lbs annual from 2006 to 2011) and completed 44 packaging reduction projects.

“Our packaging team continues to identify sustainability projects, which included initiating 77 projects,” Hormel said. “We will continue to work with packaging suppliers on sustainability improvements.”
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