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Universities Across The Country Enroll Applegate® Products To Meet The Needs Of Sustainably-Minded Students


Bridgewater, N.J.

Natural, organic, humanely-raised meats satisfy students’ desire for taste, nutrition, and sustainability efforts

You can’t beat the food at Thanksgiving — or can you? As thousands of college students head back to campus, some may be happy to return to the dining halls. Long gone are the days of mystery meat and overcooked vegetables on steam tables. In just the last two years, Applegate, the nation’s leading natural and organic meat brand, has appeared in the dining halls (they’re not called cafeterias any more) of more than 25 colleges and universities – from the Ivy League to the Big Ten – as students demand more sustainably-sourced foods.

Applegate brings familiar offerings – deli meat, fresh pork and hot dogs – with the added benefit of clean, non-GMO ingredients, no antibiotics ever and third-party animal welfare certification. And earlier this year, Applegate launched The Great Organic Blend Burger™ products to offer an option for burger lovers who don’t want to eliminate meat from their diet, but rather reduce their meat consumption for reasons varying from environmental to health. Made with 100% grass-fed beef and sustainably grown mushrooms, The Great Organic Blend Burger™ Beef Burger delivers a classic, meaty burger taste with fewer calories and fat than a regular all-beef burger. This addition to the Applegate line-up has been accepted by a growing list of campuses for the 2019-2020 school year, including the University of California – Santa Barbara and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In fact, Wisconsin swapped out all-beef burgers in its six dining markets across campus with The Great Organic Blend Burger™ Beef Burger.

“As part of our dining program, we regularly meet with a group of students called our Dining Advisory Board. One of the things they always share is that their peers are interested in delicious food that is also sustainable,” said Peter Testory, Director of Dining at University of Wisconsin-Madison. “They want us to carry food that is not only good for them, but to work with brands who are responsible stewards of the planet. Partnering with Applegate to offer a meat and mushroom blended burger allows us to do both. Plus, it tastes great! Many of our students and guests don’t even know they are eating a blended burger.”

According to Applegate President John Ghingo, the company is uniquely poised to help college dining and procurement directors. “They are trying to meet a lot of different tastes and desires for students – from wanting foods with cleaner ingredient statements to concerns about sustainability and animal welfare. Applegate has really been able to check a lot of boxes for these massive foods systems that are trying to cater to very diverse student populations.”

“The Great Organic Blend Burger was an effortless choice when looking for a product that would represent our commitment to sustainability,” said Dusty Cooper, Former Senior Executive Chef of University California, Santa Barbara. “Since a portion of the burger is made up of sustainably grown mushrooms, it was a choice in water conservation, which is crucial to our Santa Barbara community, as well as a choice for those seeking a better-for-you burger. Students have been lining up!”

Also new to many campuses – the brand behind the food is called out to students, as with the Applegate® logo above the deli meats at the University of Colorado – Boulder dining hall.

“A lot of Gen Zers on college campuses recognize Applegate from growing up with it – our biggest growth came in the last 15 years with the point of entry being parents looking for better alternatives for their kids,” said Ghingo. “Applegate also fits within the values of this generation – they demand full transparency and ask a lot of questions.”


Applegate is passionately committed to its mission- Changing The Meat We Eat®– and providing clean, crave-able meat options such as bulk deli meats, fresh pork, burgers, hot dogs, pizza toppings, and snacks to everyone from independents to national chains through its foodservice.

Applegate® products are made without GMO ingredients and all pork, beef, and poultry sourced by Applegate is third-party certified for higher animal welfare through organizations such as Global Animal Partnership® and Certified Humane®.

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 Applegate foodservice products, visit

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