Skip to content

The Speed of Innovation

Ethan Watters | June 6, 2023

Impact | The Originate Initiative

Hormel Foods Builds Four Centers for Innovation

Innovation has become a watchword across the entire worldwide operations of Hormel Foods. Over the last two years, the company has opened four new centers dedicated to the creation of new brands, products and processes. Two of these centers are in the company’s home state of Minnesota—one in Chicago (primarily focused on the PLANTERS® brand), and the other is in Jiaxing, China.

These centers are proving instrumental to the company’s ability to launch hundreds of new retail and foodservice offerings each year.

The Originate Center

Just a couple hours to the northwest in Willmar, Minn., is the company’s recently opened Originate Center. A repurposed and refurbished manufacturing facility now dedicated to test runs of new food products, the Originate Center is essentially a mini-production plant built to bridge the gap between product ideation and large-scale production. The center allows engineers, food-safety and workplace-safety experts, package designers and chefs to work in tandem, tweaking recipes, selecting the right equipment, and creating the most efficient processes.

Designed for trial production runs of six months to a year, the 70,000-square-foot space will be able to run multiple test products simultaneously. The new products produced at the Originate Center can then be test-marketed with retail and foodservice customers. Putting new brands and products into small-scale production allows Hormel Foods to have confidence in new food offerings and develop proprietary processes before moving to large-scale production with retail and foodservice partners.