Our work over the past several years has resulted in a 70 percent reduction in the number of products containing partially hydrogenated oils.
Our Health, Science and Wellness Advisory Council (a cross-functional team consisting of research and development, marketing, consumer insights, regulatory affairs and packaging) meets regularly to discuss health and wellness, consumer trends, and initiatives and strategies for our product portfolio.
We have implemented a clean-label initiative to simplify the ingredient statements of many of our retail products through the removal or replacement of ingredients, while still delivering great-tasting items that consumers expect. This means products are evaluated for a simpler ingredient list, using ingredients familiar to consumers, and no artificial colors or flavors.
In 2016, we initiated 47 clean-label projects. Those completed in 2016 included Valley Fresh® chicken breast raised without antibiotics and Hormel Vital Cuisine™ meals.
In addition to the company’s retail products clean-label efforts, the company’s foodservice division is focusing on clean labels as well. Knowing that foodservice operators and their patrons desire their ingredients and menu items to reflect what they find in their own pantries, all Hormel Foods Foodservice innovation efforts will continue to be chef-inspired with easily recognized ingredients, smart sodium levels and on-trend preparation methods. Innovation product successes include Hormel®Fire Braised™ meats, Hormel®Natural Choice® meats and Hormel®FUSE™ patties. These items are 100 percent all natural with zero preservatives, no artificial colors, no nitrites or nitrates added, and have no gluten-containing ingredients.
Partially Hydrogenated Oils and Sugar
We continue to implement projects to eliminate partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the source of artificial trans fats. Our work over the past several years has resulted in a 70 percent reduction in the number of products containing PHOs. We will continue to work closely with our ingredient suppliers to find suitable alternatives that do not compromise product flavor or texture.
Additionally, the products in our portfolio already contain low amounts of sugar. Approximately 97 percent of our portfolio had five grams of sugar or less per serving in 2016.
Our Health, Science and Wellness Advisory Council has set an important sodium reduction goal: by 2020, we aim to reduce sodium levels in select products within our branded retail portfolio by an average of 15 percent.
Sodium Reduction By Product Category
*New category in 2016
Percent of Sodium Reduction by Category**
In addition to the categories above, we also reduced the sodium in our Hormel®Mary Kitchen® corned beef hash.
*New category in 2016
**Percent of item sales within category with a sodium reduction or developed with decreased sodium parameters
Cancer Nutrition Products
In 2014, we initiated a partnership with the Cancer Nutrition Consortium (CNC) to develop a line of food and beverage products to support the nutrition needs of patients recovering from cancer and other ailments. In 2015, we launched Hormel Vital Cuisine™ high-protein shakes and whey powders and made them available directly to consumers for home delivery at www.homecarenutrition.com/vital-cuisine. A line of Hormel Vital Cuisine™ meals was launched in 2016.
“During product development, we brought together researchers in both the health and culinary fields to ensure a thorough understanding of a patient’s needs during various phases of treatment,” said Chet Rao, Ph.D., strategy and business manager at Hormel Foods. “This product line was thoughtfully crafted, since many product attributes such as flavor, texture and ingredients are known to affect patients differently during their recovery, during which eating and drinking can be challenging.”
In 2016, the Hormel Vital Cuisine™ brand team sponsored several American Cancer Society (ACS) events, including Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and Relay For Life. Hormel Vital Cuisine™ products were also donated to several ACS Hope Lodges, which are free temporary lodging centers for patients and their caregivers near treatment centers.
Hormel Foods gives a portion of all Hormel Vital Cuisine™ product sales to the CNC. The mission of the CNC is to improve cancer patients’ quality of life by raising awareness about their experiences with food, taste and nutrition during cancer treatment. For additional information, visit www.homecarenutrition.com/vital-cuisine.