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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, MN.


  • 1901:

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

  • 1904:

    Distribution center opened in Duluth, MN.

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

    Offices opened in Chicago, IL.

  • 1916:

    Offices opened in Dallas, TX.

  • 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, CA.

  • 1928:

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

  • 1929:

    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.

  • 1949:

    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.

  • 1959:

    Little Sizzlers® pork sausage introduced.

  • 1959: 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.

  • 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.

  • 1982:

    A new 1,089,000-square-foot plant—equivalent to approximately 23 football fields—opened in Austin, MN. 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.

  • 1990s:

    Hormel Foods unveiled a number of food products that appealed to consumers’ newly emerging tastes, including Jennie-O Turkey Store® 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.

  • 1993:

    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.

  • 1995:

    The Peloponnese® brand was acquired in line with the company’s efforts to produce natural specialty foods from the Mediterranean region. Product offering included: whole, chopped and pitted olives; sweet peppers; olive oil; salad dressings; stuffed grape leaves (dolmas); and many other selections for retail, foodservice and deli businesses.

  • 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."

  • 2004:

    Jeffrey M. Ettinger, current Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hormel Foods, 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.

  • 2007:

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

  • 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.

  • 2008:

    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.

  • 2008:

    Green label Hormel® Compleats® microwave meals introduced for people who desire a fast, hot and nutritious meal.

  • 2009:

    Hormel® pepperoni minis and CHI-CHI’S® Fiesta Plates™ products debuted.

  • 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.
  • 2009:

    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.

  • 2011:

    Wholly Guacamole® dips and Fresherized Foods joined MegaMex Foods, LLC.

  • 2012:

    The SPAM® brand celebrated its 75th anniversary; Hormel Foods named one of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens by Corporate Responsibility Magazine for the fourth consecutive year.

  • Skippy® peanut butter


    Hormel Foods acquires 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.