When Nick Schweitzer, senior brand manager at Hormel Foods, learned about a community solar garden that was going to be constructed near the plant where Hormel® Natural Choice® uncured bacon products are produced, he was all ears.
“I wanted to learn more,” Schweitzer recalls. “People want to feel good about the products they are buying, and environmental sustainability is definitely important to the brand.”
The company’s environmental sustainability team was all ears as well since they had set a goal to reduce non-renewable energy use by 10 percent by 2020.
Westar Energy was planning to construct the community solar garden just 50 miles away from the company’s Dold Foods (Wichita, Kansas) manufacturing facility, and conversations soon began taking place between the companies.
“We were excited about this clean energy option that could be used to make our Hormel® Natural Choice® bacon products and decided to become a sponsor – it was an easy choice,” Schweitzer said. “Twenty percent of the energy from the solar garden will be used at our Dold Foods facility.”
Solar energy is becoming increasingly popular around the world, and the good news is there is enough to go around — more energy from the sun falls on the earth in one hour than is used by everyone in the world in one year.1
But Coulter Wood, senior staff engineer at Hormel Foods, is quick to point out another benefit of solar energy. “Community solar is beneficial to the air quality of our communities, and also helps to create jobs for the local economy,” he said.
A luncheon event was held at the garden site to celebrate its completion featuring, of course, bacon! Guests enjoyed BLT sandwiches featuring Hormel® Natural Choice® original uncured bacon and watermelon salad featuring Hormel® Natural Choice® cherrywood smoked uncured bacon.
Joe Peine, plant manager of Dold Foods, said to the audience, “We are proud to support this community solar garden initiative, and as a company we look forward to continuing our support of renewable energy through additional solar power initiatives in the future.”