Hormel Foods Corporation
is an American company founded in 1891 in Austin, Minnesota
, by George A. Hormel
as George A. Hormel & Company. Originally focusing on the packaging and selling of ham, Spam
, sausage and other pork, chicken, beef and lamb products to consumers; by the 1980s, Hormel began offering a wider range of packaged
and refrigerated foods. The company changed its name to Hormel Foods in 1993. Hormel serves 80 countries with brands such as Applegate, Columbus Craft Meats
, Dinty Moore, Jennie-O
, and Skippy
The company was founded as George A. Hormel & Company in Austin, Minnesota by George A. Hormel in 1891. It changed its name to Hormel Foods in 1993.
The building in which George A. Hormel started his business. Preserved at the Mower County
Fairgrounds in Austin
George A. Hormel
(born 1860 in Buffalo, New York
) worked in a Chicago slaughterhouse
before becoming a traveling wool and hide
buyer. His travels took him to Austin and he decided to settle there. He borrowed $500 and opened a meat business.
Hormel handled the production side of the business and his partner, Albert Friedrich, handled the retail. Their partnership dissolved in 1891 as Hormel started his own meat packing operation in northeast Austin in a creamery building on the Cedar River.
To make ends meet in those early days, Hormel continued to trade in hides, eggs, wool, and poultry. The name Dairy Brand
was first used in 1903.:68
In the first decade of the 20th century distribution centers were opened in St. Paul
, San Antonio
, and Birmingham
In 1915, Hormel began selling dry sausages under the names of Cedar Cervelat, Holsteiner and Noxall Salami.:79
Hormel products began appearing in national magazines such as Good Housekeeping
as early as 1916.
The Hormel plant circa 1920
In 1921, when George's son Jay Hormel returned from service in the First World War
, he uncovered that assistant controller Cy Thomson
had embezzled $1,187,000 from the company over the previous ten years.
scandal provided George Hormel with additional incentive to professionalize his company. He did so by arranging for more reliable capital management, by dismissing unproductive employees, and by continuing to develop new products,:90–103
reportedly with the mantra “Originate, don't imitate."
In 1926, the company introduced Hormel Flavor-Sealed Ham, America's first canned
and added a canned chicken product line in 1928.
Throughout the 1930s, Hormel ads were featured on the radio program The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show
were introduced in 1936 and 1937 respectively.
In 1938, Jay C. Hormel introduced the "Joint Savings Plan" which allowed employees to share in the profits of the company.
By 1942, George and Jay established The Hormel Foundation
to act as trustees of the family trusts.
The Foundation funded the Hormel Institute
at the University of Minnesota, initially started with a study of the food value of soybeans.
The Institute's scope later grew towards studying nutrition, animal diseases and food technology. Hormel's production increased to aid in World War II
and 65% of its products were purchased by the U.S. government
This Is Hormel (1964) hot dog segment
Little Sizzlers sausages were introduced in 1961 and Cure 81 hams were introduced in 1963. Unfortunately Little Sizzler's sausage has been discontinued per 10/10/19 email from Hormel's Customer Service.
Not-So-Sloppy-Joe Sloppy Joe sauce made its debut in 1985.
In 1986, Hormel Foods acquired Jennie-O Foods
and also began an exclusive licensing arrangement to produce Chi-Chi's
The following year, Hormel Foods introduced the Top Shelf line of microwavable non-frozen products. The company added to their poultry offerings by purchasing Chicken by George, created by former Miss America Phyllis George
, in 1988.
That same year, Hormel Foods also introduced microwave bacon.
In 1984, Hormel introduced the Frank 'n Stuff
brand of stuffed hot dogs
In August 1985, Hormel workers went on strike
at the Hormel headquarters in Austin, Minnesota
. In the early 1980s, recession impacted several meatpacking companies, decreasing demand and increasing competition which led smaller and less-efficient companies to go out of business. In an effort to keep plants from closing, many instituted wage cuts. Wilson Food Company declared bankruptcy in 1983, allowing them to cut wages from $10.69 to $6.50 and significantly reduce benefits. Hormel Foods had avoided such drastic action, but by 1985, pressure to stay competitive remained.
Workers had already labored under a wage freeze and dangerous working conditions, leading to many cases of repetitive strain injury
. When management demanded a 23% wage cut from the workers they decided to begin the strike.
It became one of the longest strikes of the 1980s.
The local chapter of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union
, Local P-9, led the strike, but was not supported by their parent union. A commemorative mural painted by Mike Alewitz
and P-9 workers during the strike was destroyed by the UFCW months after the strike ended.
The strike gained national attention and led to a widely publicized consumer boycott
of Hormel products. The strike ended in June 1986, after lasting 10 months.
The Spam Museum
in Austin, Minnesota, was opened in 2001.
That same year, Hormel Foods acquired The Turkey Store, the business was combined with Jennie-O Foods to form Jennie-O Turkey Store.
According to Triple Pundit, Hormel Foods began CSR reporting in 2006.
The company has been included in Corporate Responsibility
magazine's list of the "100 best corporate citizens" for 10 consecutive years.
In 2008 an article in the New York Times
, "SPAM Turns Serious and Hormel Turns Out More", detailed an overwhelming spike in the demand for SPAM, perhaps due to the flagging economy.
In 2009 Hormel and Herdez del Fuerte created the joint venture MegaMex Foods to market and distribute Mexican food in the United States.
Brands included in the venture include Herdez, La Victoria, Chi Chi's
, El Torito
, Embasa, Wholly Guacamole, Del Fuerte, Dona Maria, Bufalo, and Don Miguel.
In September 2008, animal rights organization PETA
released a video recorded over the course of three months showing workers at a pig factory farm in Iowa abusing pigs.
The factory farm was owned by Natural Pork Production II LLP of Iowa until August 18, 2008, at which point ownership had transferred to MowMar LLP.
Hormel spokeswoman Julie Henderson Craven, who responded to the PETA video, called the videotaped abuses "completely unacceptable."
In their 2007 Corporate Responsibility Report, Hormel Foods stated that all suppliers are expected to comply with several welfare programs to ensure that the hogs purchased are treated humanely. Because of the investigation, several employees of the farm were fired and six individuals faced charges due to the abuse.
In 2011, Hormel Foods announced a two-for-one stock split.
In 2013, Hormel Foods purchased Skippy
—the best-selling brand of peanut butter
in China and the second-best-selling brand in the world—from Unilever
for $700 million; the sale included Skippy's American and Chinese factories.
In May 2015, Hormel revealed it would acquire meat processing firm Applegate Farms for around $775 million, expanding its range of meat products.
In 2015, the Hormel Health Labs division of Hormel Foods launched its Hormel Vital Cuisine line of packaged ready to eat meals, nutrition shakes and whey protein powders geared towards cancer patients and made available for home delivery. The line was developed in concert with three parties, as "Hormel brought food formulation, packaging and shelf stability knowledge, (chef de cuisine
) Ron DeSantis brought taste and texture expertise, and the Cancer Nutrition Consortium
offered the nutritional framework."
In 2015, SPAMMY became available for purchase under Title I for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) feeding programs and Title II for U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) programs under the name fortified poultry-based spread (FPBS).
Four years earlier, the company had made an initial three-year commitment to deliver 1 million cans of this product to in-need families in Guatemala.
Also in 2015, after an undercover investigation by a group known as Compassion Over Killing
at an Austin, Minnesota processing plant, Hormel Foods announced it was "bringing humane handling officers to a Quality Pork Processors Incorporated facility to ensure compliance with its own animal welfare standards."
It has also told QPP to provide extra training, enhance compliance oversight and increase third-party auditing.
According to Reuters, "in one scene of the video, pigs covered in feces or pus-filled abscesses are sent down the plant’s conveyor belt. At one point, a knife is used to cut open abscesses on dead pigs."
In 2016, Peak Rock Capital purchased the Diamond Crystal Brands Inc. unit, purchased by Hormel in 2002 for $155 million from Imperial Sugar
Also in 2016, Hormel acquired the nut butter producer Justin’s for 280 million.
In 2016, 2017, and 2018, the company was named as one of the Human Rights Campaign
's Best Places to Work for LGBT equality.
In 2019, Hormel was again named to one of the best places to work for LGBT equality, as the company obtained a 95 out of 100 score in the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index
. The almost-perfect score was due to the area of "equivalency in same and different-sex domestic partner medical and soft benefits", where Hormel received half-credit for providing parity in some, but not all, benefits.
In 2017, Hormel sold Clougherty Packing, owner of the Farmer John and Saag's brands, to Smithfield Foods
In October 2017, Hormel announced it would acquire deli meat company Columbus Manufacturing for $850 million.
In 2017, Mercy For Animals
released undercover video footage of pigs being abused at The Maschhoffs LLC., a Hormel pork supplier in Hinton, Oklahoma
, with piglets being castrated and having their tails cut off without any anesthetic, piglets left to suffer from untreated illness or injuries, and mother pigs crammed into gestation crates unable to move.
In response, Hormel temporarily suspended its buying from the supplier.
According to the Military Times, the company has been listed in the top 100 Best for Vets Employers category consistently since 2013.
In April 2019, together with Harvard University Dining Services, the company hosted the Small Change Big Impact Food Summit at Harvard University.
In September 2019, Hormel Foods announced that they had achieved their non-renewable energy use reduction goal a year ahead of schedule.
Also in September 2019, the company launched a vegetarian meat alternative called Happy Little Plants for foodservice and retail customers.
In February 2021, Kraft Heinz
announced it would be selling its Planters
and its other nuts businesses to Hormel for $3.35 billion.
Effect of the COVID-19 pandemic
On April 18, 2020, local health officials shut down a Hormel Foods plant in Rochelle, Illinois
, that employed 800 people after at least 24 workers tested positive for coronavirus.
On April 21, Hormel announced the closure of three meat processing plants, including its Alma Foods plant in Alma, Kansas
. That plant employs about 100 workers and at least one worker tested positive for the coronavirus.
Hormel also closed its Don Miguel Foods factory in Dallas, Texas
, which is a joint venture with a Mexico City company, Herdez Del Fuerte. The plant made pork, beef and chicken burritos
, and employed about 700 workers.
On April 24, Hormel announced the closure of two plants in Willmar, Minnesota
, after 14 workers tested positive for coronavirus. These Jennie-O
turkey plants employed over 1,200 workers.
In October 2020, Hormel launched a bacon scented protective mask giveaway charity promotion.
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Last edited on 10 May 2021, at 21:06
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