We launched over 600 retail and foodservice items in 2018.
At Hormel Foods, we’re inspired by the quest of our founder George A. Hormel to “Originate, don’t imitate.”
We continue to direct our attention to understanding the ever-changing needs of our consumers and customers through observations, conversations and ethnography. This work feeds our innovation efforts as we design products that meet the lifestyles, life stages and needs of our global consumer base.
We recently introduced a new innovation goal: to deliver 15 percent of sales in the year 2020 generated from products created in the last five years. At the end of 2018, we are proud to report that over 14 percent of our sales came from innovative new items.
As part of our product innovation approach, we have a team dedicated to innovation management. This team is responsible for major new product development projects in our company, and we have a system for measuring key indicators to help manage the new product innovation process. We also have formalized a companywide governance system to maintain the necessary checks and balances of our product innovation process, hold an annual summit for employees involved in innovation, and have an Innovation Steering Committee that meets monthly to review the company’s innovation progress.
In 2014, we established an internal Innovation Best of the Best competition to recognize teams and highlight our focus on successful innovation. In 2018, the Hormel®Natural Choice® snacks team was named the winner.
Our consumer engagement team is dedicated to maintaining strong relationships with our consumers, while ascertaining consumer tastes and preferences in changing demographics. By interacting with consumers on a daily basis, our team can better evaluate consumer needs. In 2018, the consumer engagement team fielded more than 111,000 contacts.
Strategic acquisitions continue to be a focus for the company for continued growth and additional innovation opportunities. Listed below are some of our recent acquisitions:
- In 2015, we acquired Applegate Farms, LLC, owner of the Applegate® brand (the No. 1 brand in the natural and organic prepared meats category). As a growing number of consumers choose natural and organic products, this purchase provides Hormel Foods and Applegate a faster path to expanded offerings in this high-growth category.
- In 2016, we acquired Justin’s LLC, owner of the Justin’s® brand and a pioneer in nut butter-based snacking.
- In 2017, we acquired Cidade do Sol, a growing, branded, value-added meats company in Brazil. The company offers more than 70 products in 15 categories including authentic meats such as mortadella, sausage and salami for Brazilian retail and foodservice markets under the popular Ceratti® brand. We also acquired Fontanini Italian Meats and Sausages, a branded foodservice business, from Capitol Wholesale Meats, Inc. Fontanini specializes in authentic Italian meats and sausages, as well as a variety of other premium meat products including pizza toppings and meatballs.
New Options and Recognition
In 2018, we launched over 600 retail and foodservice items. These items included SKIPPY® P.B. & Jelly Minis and Jennie-O® ground chicken. We also received the Grocery Manufacturers Association Award for Innovation and Creativity for Herdez® guacamole salsa, and the following products were recognized with Progressive Grocer Editors’ Picks awards:
- Applegate Naturals® cheeses;
- Applegate Naturals® peppered Genoa salami;
- Columbus® raised without antibiotics uncured Genoa salame;
- Herdez Taqueria Street Sauce®products;
- Hormel® Black Label® real bacon bits singles;
- Hormel®Natural Choice® stacks;
- Jennie-O® premium peri peri chicken breast;
- Wholly®Simply Avocado® dip and spread; and
- Wholly® guacamole snack cups.