Skip to content

Applegate Farms, LLC Announces Appointment Of New Executives


Bridgewater, N.J.

Applegate, makers of the nation’s leading natural and organic meat brand, announced that Jim Graham will assume the position of vice president of research & development and quality assurance and Joseph O’Connor will take on the role of vice president of sales and marketing.

Applegate Farms, LLC (Applegate) is a stand-alone subsidiary of Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE: HRL).

Graham recently retired from Mondelez International, formerly Kraft Foods Global, LLC, where he spent more than 30 years in research and development. O’Connor began his career with Hormel Foods in 2006. Both will report to John Ghingo, Applegate president.

“As we enter a new decade with strong headwinds facing the meat industry, I’m confident Jim and Joe’s expertise will inspire the Applegate team to relentlessly pursue smarter ways to fulfill the Applegate mission: Changing The Meat We Eat®,” said Ghingo. “There’s a huge opportunity to help people understand that meat, raised right, is a vital part of the human experience and a healthy planet, and Jim and Joe will be instrumental in leading our efforts through product innovation, sales and marketing.”

At Mondelez, Graham held R&D leadership positions across many global divisions including; North America, Global Coffee, Global Cheese and Dairy, Global Enhancer Brands, and North American Meats. He brings R&D experience on global brands including Oreo, Ritz, Maxwell House, Kraft Cheese, Mac & Cheese, and Oscar Mayer. He holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from Columbia University and an MS in Chemical Engineering from Manhattan College. Graham is a resident of Morristown, New Jersey, where he and his wife enjoy spending time with their three adult children.

O’Connor has held several positions in sales and sales strategy throughout his tenure at Hormel Foods. Most recently, he served as director of sales and managed the Hormel Foods Consumer Product Sales business in the Northeast. His other roles included analytics and category sales and management. O’Connor also led several special project assignments where he was tasked with managing cross-functional teams. O’Connor graduated from Saint Joseph’s University with a degree in Food Marketing. He is still very active on campus representing Hormel Foods. O’Connor, his wife, also a St. Joseph’s University Alumnae, and their young daughter will be relocating to New Jersey from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

About Applegate

Founded in 1987, Applegate produces high-quality natural and organic hot dogs, bacon, sausages, deli meats, cheese and frozen products. Our products are made without GMO ingredients, and we source from farms where animals are treated with care and respect and are allowed to grow at their natural rate, all part of our mission – Changing The Meat We Eat®. Natural can mean many things, but to Applegate natural means our food is:

  • From animals that are Applegate Humanely Raised without antibiotics, added hormones or growth promotants
  • From animals fed a vegetarian or pasture-centered diet (our beef is 100 percent grass-fed)
  • Free of added chemical nitrites, nitrates or phosphates
  • Free of artificial ingredients or preservatives

Applegate became a stand-alone subsidiary of Hormel Foods in July 2015. For more information about our products, visit or talk with us on or

About Hormel Foods – Inspired People. Inspired Food.

Hormel Foods Corporation, based in Austin, Minn., is a global branded food company with over $9 billion in annual revenues across 75 countries worldwide. Its brands include SKIPPY®, SPAM®, Hormel® Natural Choice®, Applegate®, Justin’s®, Columbus®, Wholly® guacamole, Hormel® Black Label® and more than 30 other beloved brands. The company is a member of the S&P 500 Index and the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats, was named one of “The 100 Best Corporate Citizens” by Corporate Responsibility Magazine for the 11th year in a row, and has received numerous other awards and accolades for its corporate responsibility and community service efforts. In 2016, the company celebrated its 125th anniversary and announced its new vision for the future – Inspired People. Inspired Food.™ – focusing on its legacy of innovation. For more information, visit and