Products innovation

To help drive strategic innovation, Jeffrey M. Ettinger, chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer, issued the Billion Dollar Challenge to all Hormel Foods employees. The goal of the challenge was for Hormel Foods to generate $1 billion in sales from new products launched between fiscal year 2000 and fiscal year 2009. The company met the Billion Dollar Challenge in fiscal year 2007, announcing this achievement in the fourth quarter of 2007 and year-end earnings releases. Following the completion of the Billion Dollar Challenge, a goal was set to achieve $2 billion in sales by 2012 from new products created since 2000. This goal was also successfully met, and our current challenge – $3B by 2016 – was developed.

The $3B by 2016 Challenge, to achieve $3 billion in total sales of products created since 2000 by the end of 2016, is underway and we are on track to achieve this goal.

In August 2014, Hormel Foods acquired CytoSport Holdings, Inc., the maker of Muscle Milk® products. As a leading provider of premium protein products in the sports nutrition category, CytoSport’s brands align with the company’s focus on protein, while further diversifying the Hormel Foods portfolio.

As part of our product innovation approach, we have a team dedicated to innovation management. They are responsible for major new product development projects in our company, and we have a system for measuring key indicators to help manage the new product innovation process. We also have formalized a companywide governance system to maintain the necessary checks and balances, and in 2014 we created an Innovation Steering Committee that meets quarterly to review the enterprise-wide innovation progress.

In 2014, we also established an Innovation Best of the Best competition category to highlight our focus on successful innovation. Thirteen entries from multiple business units entered the competition, and the foodservice Hormel® BACON 1™ team was named the winner. The cross-functional Hormel® BACON 1™ team successfully created the only fully-cooked bacon on the market today that performs like raw bacon.

Results of surveys measuring customer satisfaction.

Our consumer response team interacts directly with our consumers on a daily basis to address product questions and gain valuable insight regarding consumer preferences. In 2014, the team fielded more than 124,000 contacts via email, toll-free lines and postal mail. These insights help us respond to changing consumer tastes and information needs appropriately.

Our business can be categorized under five product platforms and many of our new products can be grouped under those platforms:

Convenience Meals
Value Added protein
Value Added fresh Meat
Solution Products