Skip to content
Our Food Journey™ 2021 Report
Gallon Reduction

In 2021, we successfully implemented projects that reduced water use by over 42 million gallons. We also improved our annual water efficiency by 14%.

Water Summary​
Total water use 4.46 billion gallons
Water use change 14% reduction
Water reduction project savings 42.2 million gallons
Water use, reduction percent of annual use 1%
Normalized usage 7 cubic meters/sales tonnage
Efficiency change 14%
Organic waste discharge reduction percentage Base year being established
Show More

In 2021, we successfully implemented projects that reduced water use by over 42 million gallons. Our total manufacturing water use during 2021 was 4.5 billion gallons.

2021 Progress

Our water sources for our domestic manufacturing facilities are solely municipal utilities. We consistently look for ways to improve our equipment and engage our employees on an ongoing basis to achieve water use reduction through behavior-based initiatives. Normalized usage (cubic meters/sales tonnage) for 2021 was 7, a 14% decrease compared to our prior-year level.

Each year, we aim to achieve a 2% reduction in water use and an annual efficiency gain of 1% in water use. In 2021, we achieved a 14% reduction in water use. Our annual water use efficiency improved 14%. These results were due to the implementation of water reduction projects and increased production efficiencies.

As we continually monitor our water usage, we evaluate our operations to determine the business risk associated with water scarcity. After careful evaluation, we have confirmed that Hormel Foods does not have manufacturing operations in areas defined as water-scarce regions by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. We have identified three manufacturing facilities that are in regions defined as overall high risk, using the World Resources Institute’s Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas. Access-to-water risk remains low at all domestic manufacturing locations, and we remain committed to driving water reduction and efficiency improvements at these and all manufacturing locations.

Water Withdrawal Sources
  • Groundwater (84%)
  • Surface Water (14%)
Groundwater Sources
  • Prairie Du Chien-Jordan Aquifer (45%)
  • Quaternary Buried Artesian Aquifer (14%)
  • Other (41%)

We have published our Sustainable Agriculture Policy and completed a high-level water risk assessment of our top suppliers through our participation in the AgWater Challenge. We are committed to advancing our water stewardship efforts through initiatives in our top six priority watersheds through our 20 By 30 Challenge. In 2021, we assessed several potential projects designed to help us achieve our goal. We look forward to sharing additional progress toward this goal in future reports.

Recent Projects to Reduce Water Usage

  • 9.2M
    Gallons Of Water Saved

    Jennie-O Turkey Store Barron (Wis.) Plant

    Our Jennie-O Turkey Store team saw an opportunity to save energy for the plant’s underfloor heating system and water rail sprayers. Quickly drafting a plan, the team reclaimed heat from an air compressor to eliminate underground heaters and developed a system that would automatically control the supply of water to the rail sprayers as needed. As a result, the heat recovery project saved over 700,000 kWh of energy annually and over 9.2 million gallons of water, which is enough water to run an average shower head continually for seven years.

  • 59K
    Gallons Of Water Saved

    Atlanta Plant (Tucker, Ga.)

    There was an opportunity at our Atlanta Plant, which produces products such as Hormel® chili and Dinty Moore® stew, to reduce the water needed to clean plastic buckets prior to recycling them. In addition to reducing over 50,000 pounds of waste sent to landfills, the plant achieved a savings of over 59,000 gallons of water annually, which is enough water to fill over 375,000 20-ounce bottles of water.

Wastewater Management

The efficient treatment of process water is an important part of our operations and a key focus of our environmental programs. Whether by direct discharge or indirect discharge via municipal wastewater systems, treated process water from our manufacturing locations is distributed to the following watersheds (percentage denotes the breakdown of wastewater distribution to each location).

Upper Mississippi
Texas Gulf
Arkansas White Red
Other Watersheds

For additional information, please see our CDP water security response.