Hormel recognized as top corporate citizen

Published 7:01 am Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hormel Foods Corp. recently recognized as one of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens in the United States by Corporate Responsibility Officer Magazine, announced today the launch of its 2008 corporate responsibility report.

Topics within the report are related to the company’s employees, the environment, animal welfare, food safety, ethical business conduct and philanthropic activities.

“Hormel Foods is committed to the principles of integrity and quality established by our founder 117 years ago,” said Jeffrey M. Ettinger, chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer at Hormel Foods. “In our corporate responsibility report, we have highlighted our successes, but also identified new issues we should address, and most importantly, opportunities to move us forward through growth and innovation.”

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The report is based on the company’s vision platform, Our Way, and its five areas — people, process (environment and animal welfare), products, performance and philanthropy. Also reported is the progress made toward the goals established in the company’s 2007 report, which was released in January 2008.

Highlights of sections from the 2008 Hormel Foods Corporate Responsibility

Report include:

People: Hormel Foods fosters long-term careers and makes safety a priority. The company convened a cross-functional diversity and inclusion council to assist in meeting the growing needs of its diverse workforce and to ensure inclusion. It is also proud to report that 56 percent of employees have been at the company for more than five years.

In addition, the company’s injury incident rates are consistently equal to or below the Bureau of Labor Statistics industrial average for NAICS 3116 Animal Slaughtering and Processing.

Process: Hormel Foods established environmental data benchmarks for all 41 U.S. manufacturing locations in November 2007 and continues to implement the highest animal welfare practices in the industry. The company reported on progress toward achieving its 2007 goals related to water use, energy use, solid waste reduction and air emissions. In 2008,

Hormel Foods exceeded its water use reduction target and completed 44 packaging reduction projects. Regarding animal welfare, the company opened a state-of-the-art hog holding facility at its plant in Austin in 2008. It also endorsed the National Pork Board’s Pork Quality Assurance Plus and Transport Quality Assurance programs by requiring individuals working with hogs to have one or both certifications.

Products: All Hormel Foods and subsidiary facilities are audited for adherence to stringent quality, food safety and sanitation programs by internal staff and third-party organizations. The company has a variety of products that meet consumers’ needs for low-sodium and all-natural, and has removed more than 560,000 pounds of salt from the existingproduct line in 2007 and removed an additional 436,738 pounds of salt from existing products in 2008. In addition, the company opened the 5,000-square-foot Idea and Innovation Center in the Baoshan District of Shanghai, China, in February 2008, which will facilitate the entire creative process, from ideation to testing and manufacturing, with a focus on developing products for Asian consumers.

Performance: Integrity guides the company’s financial reporting and corporate governance. Hormel Foods established a lead director position on its Board of Directors in 2008 to help facilitate the Board of Directors’ oversight of the company.

Philanthropy: Hormel Foods donated $6.5 million to local charities, hunger organizations and other non-profit organizations in 2007 and 2008. The company also donated more than 1 million pounds of protein products to food banks in fiscal years 2007 and 2008. The company received the 2007 Donor of the Year award from Channel One Food Bank and Food Shelf, which operates in Minnesota and Wisconsin.