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2016 Report
Our Food Journey™
Gallon Reduction

During 2016, we successfully implemented projects that reduced water use by 239 million gallons.

Water usage continues to be a top priority for all of our stakeholders and thus, continues to be a priority at Hormel Foods.

2016 Progress

Our target is to implement projects that reduce total water use by 0.5 billion gallons by 2020. During 2016, we successfully implemented projects that reduced water use by 239 million gallons, exceeding our goal by 31 percent when combined with our progress since 2012. Total manufacturing water use during 2016 was 4.99 billion gallons. We will continue to focus on water reduction and efficiency improvements as we work to establish a new goal.

Surpassed Goals
2020 Goal Exceeded By 31%
when combined with progress since 2012

Our water sources include municipal utilities and company-owned wells. 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 2016 was 7.3, even with the prior year’s level.

In addition to monitoring our water usage, we evaluated our operations to determine the business risk associated with water scarcity. After careful evaluation, we learned that Hormel Foods does not have manufacturing operations in areas defined as water-scarce regions by the World Resources Institute. We have identified three manufacturing facilities that are located 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.

In 2016, we also announced our participation in the Ceres and World Wildlife Fund AgWater Challenge to work with growers in our supply chain to reduce water use and improve water quality. We will provide updates on our progress through this challenge in future reports.

The Agwater Challenge

Recent Projects to Reduce Water Usage

  • 164M
    Gallons Of Fresh Water Saved
    per year

    Austin (Minn.) Plant

    Our Austin (Minn.) Plant added enough reverse osmosis capacity to exceed boiler demand and eliminated single-pass cooling of air compressors. This project reduced boiler water chemical use and provided adequate cooling through heat exchangers on the air compressor, saving over 164 million gallons of fresh water per year.

  • 12M
    Gallons Of Fresh Water Saved
    per year

    Jennie-O Turkey Store (Barron, Wis.)

    Our Jennie-O Turkey Store (Barron, Wis.) team identified a way to optimize the refrigeration load and eliminate a compressor room. By doing so, the plant was able to eliminate compressor cooling water, saving over 12 million gallons of fresh water per year.

  • 20M
    Gallons Of Fresh Water Saved
    per year

    Beloit (Wis.) Plant

    Our Beloit (Wis.) Plant team eliminated the use of fresh water for single-pass cooling of the air compressors in the engine room. Changing to a closed-loop cooling system will save the plant 20 million gallons of fresh water per year.

Wastewater Management

The efficient treatment of process water is an important part of our operations and a key focus of our environmental programs. Our goal extends beyond full compliance to developing collaborative partnerships in the communities where we operate.

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
South Atlantic
Souris/Red River
Texas Gulf
Other Watersheds

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Notes

  • G4-EN8

    Total water withdrawal by source.

  • G4-EN22

    Total weight of waste by type and disposal method. For more information, please visit the Environment page on

GRI Content Index