Products innovation

To help drive strategic innovation, our chief executive officer Jeff Ettinger issued the Billion Dollar Challenge to all Hormel Foods employees. The goal of the challenge was for Hormel Foods to generate $1 billion in sales from new products launched between fiscal year 2000 and fiscal year 2009. The company met the Billion Dollar Challenge in fiscal year 2007. Following the completion of the Billion Dollar Challenge, a goal was set to achieve $2 billion in sales by 2012 from new products created since 2000. This goal was also successfully met, and our current challenge – $3B by 2016 – was then developed.

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 this product innovation process, and in 2014 we created an Innovation Steering Committee that meets quarterly to review the company’s innovation progress.

In 2014, we also established an Innovation Best of the Best competition category to highlight our focus on successful innovation. In 2015, nine entries from multiple business units entered the competition, and the SKIPPY® P.B. bites team was named the winner. SKIPPY® P.B. bites are bite-size snacks that start with a pretzel or peanut butter center and then are covered in SKIPPY® peanut butter.

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 in a wide range of platforms, our team can better evaluate consumer needs. In 2015, the consumer response team fielded more than 120,000 contacts via email, toll-free lines and postal mail.

Building on our 2014 acquisition of CytoSport Holdings, Inc., the maker of Muscle Milk® products, we acquired Applegate Farms, LLC, owner of the Applegate® brand (the No. 1 brand in the natural and organic prepared meats category) in July 2015. As a growing number of consumers choose natural and organic products, this purchase provides Hormel Foods and the Applegate® brand a faster path to expanded offerings in this high-growth category.

Our business can be categorized under five product platforms and many of our new products can be grouped under those platforms:

Convenience Meals
Value Added protein
Value Added fresh Meat
Solution Products
Snacking

New Options

In 2015, we rolled out several new items, with a focus on expanding our snack offering, while reenergizing our legacy brands with new, diverse and robust flavors.

Products innovation