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Milestones in Our History

  • 1891:

    George A. Hormel established today’s Hormel Foods Corporation as Geo. A. Hormel & Co. in Austin, Minn.


  • 1901:

    Following impressive sales of fresh pork products throughout the late 1800s, the first sales branch opened in Minneapolis, Minn.

  • 1904:

    Distribution center opened in Duluth, Minn.

  • 1905: Offices opened in St. Paul, Minn.
  • 1910: George began running national advertisements to grow his business nationally and internationally.
  • 1913:

    Offices opened in Chicago, Ill.

  • 1916:

    Offices opened in Dallas, Texas.

  • By the end of WWI:

    An impressive export business accounted for approximately one-third of company’s sales volume.

  • 1918:

    Offices opened in Atlanta, Ga.

  • 1920s:

    Company initiated a unique distribution system for its products involving “sausage trucks,” which were vans driven by salesmen who sold and delivered products on specific routes rather than relying on product distribution by refrigerated railroad cars.

  • 1926:

    Geo. A. Hormel & Co. developed the world’s first canned ham.

  • 1927:

    At the age of 67, George A. Hormel retired from handling day-to-day operations of the firm, but he continued to serve as chief executive officer. His son, Jay C. Hormel, was named acting president.

  • 1928:

    First manufacturing facility to produce branded products outside of Austin was established in Los Angeles, Calif.

    Geo. A. Hormel & Co. became a public company.

  • J.C. Hormel


    Jay C. Hormel named president and brought a penchant for daring new products and promotions to his father’s company.

  • 1933:

    Geo. A. Hormel & Co. owned distribution centers in 14 cities across America.

  • 1935:

    Jay C. Hormel’s inventive thinking brought about new products including Dinty Moore® beef stew and Hormel® chili.

  • 1937:

    Innovative new product SPAM® luncheon meat introduced and achieved an 18 percent market share within the year.

  • 1941:

    The number of employees grew to nearly 4,500 and sales climbed to $74.6 million.

  • After WWII:

    Mary Kitchen® roast beef and corned beef hash and Hormel® deviled ham entered the marketplace.

  • 1946:

    H. H. Corey succeeded Jay C. Hormel as president, keeping his predecessor’s commitment to innovation firmly in place. Jay C. Hormel served as chairman of the board.

  • 1947:

    In a bold marketing move, Jay C. Hormel established the Hormel Girls, a traveling troupe of 60 musical women, to promote Geo. A. Hormel & Co. products. No one had ever seen the likes of a women’s drum and bugle corps that toured, sang and sold Geo. A. Hormel & Co. products.

  • 1950:

    The introduction of cellophane packaging revolutionized the food industry throughout the 1950s. Geo. A. Hormel & Co. introduced 16 new products in 1950 alone, including Hormel® skinless frankfurters, Flavor-Saver sliced bacon and link sausage.

  • R. F. Gray


    R.F Gray was named the fourth president of the company.

  • Little Sizzlers and 1B SPAM


    Hormel® Little Sizzlers® pork sausage introduced.

    One-billionth can of SPAM® luncheon meat was produced.

  • 1960s:

    Geo. A. Hormel & Co. cast an ambitious eye toward foreign export business and developed licensing agreements and subsidiary arrangements for the production of our products overseas, thus expanding our international trade.

  • 1963:

    Hormel® Cure 81® ham introduced.

  • M. B. Thompson


    M.B. Thompson named as the fifth company president.

  • I.J. Holton


    I.J. Holton succeeded M.B. Thompson as president. Thompson named chief executive officer and chairman of the board.

  • 1970s:

    Represented a decade of unprecedented growth and investment in equipment and facilities at Geo. A. Hormel & Co. An assortment of new products, many of them line extensions, geared for specific market segments, were introduced.

  • 1973:

    Hormel Foods was the first meat packing company to include nutritional labels on meat products.

  • R.L. Knowlton


    Richard L. Knowlton succeeded I.J. Holton as president, and Holton was named chairman of the board.

  • 1982:

    A new 1,089,000-square-foot plant—equivalent to approximately 23 football fields—opened in Austin, Minn. The $100 million building featured state-of-the-art technology in processing equipment and was the largest investment in Geo. A. Hormel & Co. history.

  • 1986:

    Geo. A. Hormel & Co. acquired Jennie-O Foods, the nation’s largest privately-owned turkey processor.

  • 1987:

    After introducing more than 130 new selections during an 18-month period prior to April 1987, Geo. A. Hormel & Co. was chosen “New Products Company of the Year” by Prepared Foods magazine.

  • 1988:

    Forbes Magazine called Geo. A. Hormel & Co. one of the most innovative companies in the food processing industry.

    The company introduced Hormel® microwave bacon.

  • 1990s:

    Hormel Foods unveiled a number of food products that appealed to consumers’ newly emerging tastes, including Jennie-O® spiced and marinated turkey; Hormel® Always Tender® fresh pork; Hormel® microwave bacon; Hormel® turkey pepperoni; Hormel® turkey chili; Hormel® vegetarian chili; and Dinty Moore® turkey stew.

  • 1991:

    Hormel Foods celebrated 100 years of operations.

    The company organized the Foodservice division to be the premier supplier of products, services and usage ideas to all facets of the food-away-from-home market.

  • J.W. Johnson


    Name of Geo. A. Hormel & Co. officially changed to Hormel Foods Corporation to more accurately reflect the corporation’s role and industry presence as a diversified consumer-branded marketer of value-added products.

    Joel W. Johnson succeeded Richard Knowlton as president and CEO.


  • Mid-1990s:

    As the consumer food marketplace quickly evolved with new global dimensions, Hormel Foods expanded into international markets. A joint venture with Grupo Herdez, S.A. de C.V., in Mexico City grew to a second joint venture with the company to feature authentic Mexican choices under the Herdez®, Bufalo® and Doña María® brands in the United States.

  • 2000:

    Prepared Foods magazine presented the New Products Company of the Year award to Hormel Foods; Meat Marketing & Technology magazine named Hormel Foods the "Company of the Decade."

  • Jennie-O Turkey Store business logo


    Hormel Foods acquired The Turkey Store, the business was combined with Jennie-O Foods to form Jennie-O Turkey Store.

  • CFI logo


    Hormel Foods acquired Century Foods International, a leading supplier of ingredients for whey protein powders, ready-to-drink protein beverages, and nutrition bars.

  • 2004 !B and FJ


    Jeffrey M. Ettinger succeeded Johnson as company president and introduced the Billion Dollar Challenge, setting a goal for the company to generate $1 billion in sales from new products by the end of fiscal year 2009.

    Hormel Foods acquired Farmer John.

  • Lloyd's BBQ

    2005: Hormel Foods acquired Lloyd’s Barbeque Company, a pioneer in the heat-and-eat barbeque category.
  • 2006:

    Hormel Foods acquired Valley Fresh Inc., a leader in the ready-to-eat canned chicken category.

    Hormel Foods acquired Saag’s Products, Inc., a specialty meat and sausage company.

  • Burke Marketing Corp.


    Hormel Foods released its first Citizenship Overview, formally reporting the company’s corporate responsibility initiatives.

    Hormel Foods acquired Burke Corporation, a manufacturer and marketer of pizza toppings and other fully-cooked meat products, strengthening the company’s position in the pizza topping industry.

  • 2008:

    The $1 billion sales goal of the Billion Dollar Challenge was achieved a year early; new challenge introduced to generate $2 billion in sales from new products by 2012.

    Hormel Foods honored with the Food Processor of the Year award by Food Processing magazine, recognizing the strength of its portfolio as a successful balance between innovation and tradition.

  • 2009:

    The joint venture with Grupo Herdez in Mexico City expanded to create MegaMex Foods, LLC, which markets and distributes a variety of Mexican foods in the United States, including the Embasa®, Del Fuerte® and La Victoria® brands.

    Hormel Foods named one of The 400 Best Big Companies in America by Forbes Magazine for the 10th consecutive year.

  • 2010:

    Hormel Foods Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of up to 5 million shares of common stock—another reflection of the company’s solid financial position.

    MegaMex Foods acquired Don Miguel Foods, a leading provider of branded frozen and fresh authentic Mexican flavored appetizers, snacks and handheld items.

    Hormel Foods opened Progressive Processing (Dubuque, Iowa). The plant was LEED® Gold certified, it was one of the first manufacturing plants to be a LEED-certified project at any level.

    Hormel Foods celebrated the 75th anniversary of Hormel® chili and Dinty Moore® stew.

  • 2011:

    Fresherized Foods maker of Wholly Guacamole® dips joined MegaMex Foods, LLC.

    Hormel Foods introduced SPAMMY®, a fortified, shelf-stable turkey spread to help address childhood malnutrition throughout the world. The company made an initial three-year commitment to deliver 1 million cans to in-need families in Guatemala

  • 2012:

    The SPAM® brand celebrated its 75th anniversary with the introduction of Sir Can A-Lot™, its first ever campaign spokescharacter.

    Hormel Foods announced that it met its ambitious “Go for $2B by 2012” goal by achieving $2 billion in total sales from new products created since 2000 by the end of fiscal year 2012.

    Hormel Foods announced its second set of environmental goals. The company surpassed the water reduction, packaging and solid waste minimization goals of its first set of five-year goals, which ended in 2011.

  • 2013:

    Hormel Foods acquired SKIPPY® peanut butter. The brand, first introduced in 1932, holds the No. 2 share in this category and is the leading brand of natural peanut butter.

    Hormel Foods introduced Hormel® REV® wraps, one of the company’s largest new product launches.

    The Hormel® Cure 81® brand celebrated its 50th anniversary.

    Hormel Foods received two AMI environmental achievement awards for the company’s expansion project at the Corporate Office and a water conservation project at Burke Marketing Corp.

  • 2014:

    Hormel Foods acquired CytoSport Holdings, Inc., maker of Muscle Milk® products and other premium protein products in the sports nutrition category.

    Hormel Foods announced a partnership with the Cancer Nutrition Consortium, to provide cancer patients with nutritional offerings for their specific, individual needs during cancer treatment.

    Century Foods International achieved zero waste to landfill.

    Hormel Foods announced Project SPAMMY® research results.

  • Applegate Farms logo


    Hormel Foods announced that it met its solid waste reduction goal six years early.

    The company acquired Applegate Farms, LLC, owner of the Applegate® brand, the No. 1 brand in the natural and organic value-added prepared meats category.

    James P. Snee named president and chief operating officer.

  • 2016:

    Jeffrey M. Ettinger, chairman of the board and chief executive officer, named one of the World's Best CEOs by Barron's.

    Hormel Foods acquired Justin’s, LLC, owner of the Justin’s® brand and a pioneer in nut butter-based snacking.