Hormel Foods invests extensive time and resources developing comprehensive training programs for our employees. From the moment an employee is hired, they continue to receive ongoing, current and industry-specific food safety education relevant to everyday job responsibilities. This training includes Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) Training, Better Process Control School, our own Quality Control University and additional job-specific training.
The company also provides training opportunities to key co-packers to ensure they are adhering to our strict safety standards. Additionally, a representative from the Hormel Foods research and development team serves on the Minnesota Governor’s Food Safety and Defense Task Force.
Read more about how we ensure food safety and quality in our global impact report.
Product Safety Management
Objective oversight is an imperative process for Hormel Foods to ensure the highest food safety and quality standards in all areas of the company’s operations. This is done through an internationally recognized, third-party food safety management system, widely known as GFSI.
Hormel Foods had one of the first manufacturing facilities independently certified using GFSI-recognized food safety standards. Twenty-six of our sites (Hormel Foods and subsidiary locations) were certified by GFSI-recognized food safety management systems in 2019, which include the British Retail Consortium Global Standard for Food Safety and Safe Quality Food Institute. To receive this certification, these sites were audited against one or more food safety standards recognized by GFSI, which are overseen by accreditation and certification bodies.
Read more about how we ensure food safety and quality in our global impact report.
Corporate Quality Assurance Management
Robust audits are conducted by experienced auditors who inspect every plant for HACCP, sanitation and quality.
In addition, all sites are subject to audits by credible outside agencies, whose auditors have completed certified trainings through various accreditation bodies. Accreditation sets certain certification requirements such as food safety management systems and HACCP.
Our company has a meticulous traceability process in place. It goes from our ingredient suppliers to the production plant to the finished product and finally, to each customer. This intricate system relies on electronic systems and records to provide visibility into our supply chain. As an example, our detailed and thorough approach to traceability allows us to know the farm of origin for each hog that is processed daily at Hormel Foods plants throughout the country.
Quality control employees are trained to trace inputs. Each Hormel Foods manufacturing facility holds a quarterly unannounced test to assess “real-time” system product traceability capabilities. This process brings visibility into the system and allows us to make continual improvements to the system and overall process.
Nutrition label panel accuracy is important to ensure our products are delivering the expected dietary needs of our consumers. We operate an ongoing internal nutrition label verification program to ensure all nutrition panel information is accurate. We also provide nutritional information on our product websites to give consumers easy access to this important product information.
All product labels are developed by our team of highly trained technical label experts. This team has decades of industry experience in label development in accordance with mandatory and voluntary labeling elements.
We manage our labeling and formulation controls through an integrated software system, which maintains profiles and specifications of all ingredients, as well as the associated suppliers. This system is designed to identify all allergens (e.g., milk, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish); sensitive ingredients (e.g., sulfate, MSG); country of origin; supplying plant location; date of purchase; nutrition information and other detailed specifications. All elements of this database are maintained through a working relationship with suppliers.
Our packaging scientists determine the best packaging techniques for all of our products to ensure our food safety and quality standards. A variety of packaging materials and options are used, including modified atmosphere packaging (a USDA-approved process that doesn’t require chemical preservatives) and packaging designed for low-acid, shelf-stable foods.
As we prepare products to be sold, they undergo multiple stages, checks and balances. Our packaging scientists do a thorough review of products, taking into account the entire manufacturing process, as well as customer and consumer usage.
In addition, Hormel Foods is dedicated to developing the best packaging techniques for the environment. In an effort to prevent food waste, we have specifically designed and packaged a variety of products to limit the amount of wasted food, such as shelf-stable options and single-serving-size options.
Understanding that small changes often lead to major impacts, Hormel Foods is constantly searching for opportunities to use less material and to encourage recycling. In 2022, approximately 84% of our product packaging by weight was recyclable, and 34% of packaging was made from recycled materials, representing a 4% increase compared to the previous year. We understand that as a good corporate citizen we can continue to do more.
We are pleased to have made progress in each of the sustainable packaging priorities specified in our 20 By 30 Challenge goal including:
- Investing in weight-savings initiatives by adopting material reduction techniques and investigating increased use of post-consumer recycled (PCR)/postindustrial recycled (PIR) content.
- Reducing product packaging by over 1.5 million pounds in 2022 by completing 15 weight-reduction and sustainable packaging projects, including those for Planters® PET bottle, Jennie-O® tray pack, Don Miguel® mini tacos and burritos, decreasing Jennie-O® ground-turkey packaging, and the Foodservice raw bacon box.
- We continue to add the How2Recycle logo to our packaging to communicate recycling instructions to our consumers. By adopting this standardized labeling system launched by the nonprofit organization GreenBlue, we join the force of hundreds of consumer brands in providing transparent and credible recycling guidance.
In 2024, Hormel Foods will issue a report that will identify opportunities to develop further internal policies and goals for a circular economy. The report will take into account the company’s current efforts to promote a circular economy for its packaging and the potential to increase efforts, including through the following opportunities:
- Increased packaging recyclability;
- Support of organizations who share the overall mission to use reusable packaging in compliance with applicable regulations; and
- Development of further internal policies and goals, which may include financial and non-financial support to organizations who share the overall mission to improve the circular economy.
Additionally, Hormel Foods will create a company-led circular economy working group made up of internal and external experts. The working group will meet regularly to assist with continued progress, including support of improvements to circular economy policies at the regional, national, and/or global level. The company will also participate in industry groups that align with these efforts. Progress will be published annual in the company’s Global Impact Report.
Hormel Foods will also enhance its 20 By 30 Challenge sustainable packaging goal (goal 12) by establishing subgoals that go further in describing its commitments, all while upholding the company’s food safety and quality standards. These will include:
- A reduction in total packaging materials by 10 million pounds by 2030, over a baseline established in 2021, via optimizing materials and promoting new technologies through the company’s supplier base, allowing for more effective packaging material requirements.
- Adding How2Recycle labels to 95% of the company’s portfolio of branded retail items in the United States by 2030.
Our goal is to do our part to ensure our packaging never becomes waste and we will continue to focus on efforts to be a leader in packaging sustainability today and in the future.
None of our products contain conflict minerals. However, we have met with our key packaging suppliers, who are complying with the SEC Rule on Conflict Minerals, and have teams in place to continually review their due diligence processes.
Hormel Foods understands the issues associated with conflict minerals that originate in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or an adjoining country. That’s another reason why we work with suppliers that share our values and support our Supplier Code of Conduct. These principles outline our expectations for our suppliers within specific areas of corporate responsibility, such as human rights and safe work environment standards.