Letter from the CEO

Letter from the CEO

I am happy to take this opportunity to share the Hormel Foods corporate responsibility story.

We regard the progress in our corporate responsibility initiatives as a collaborative effort, one that seeks your input and ongoing feedback. We appreciate your responses and hope you will continue to share your thoughts with us.

Jeffrey M. Ettinger

This year marks our fifth full report and the completion of our first set of five-year environmental goals. The last five years have been: rewarding, as we achieved significant reductions on several key sustainability metrics; challenging, as we reported data that had not previously been calculated; and enlightening, as the process provided an opportunity for us to take a fresh look at long-established policies and procedures.

I am proud of our team for achieving outstanding results in fiscal 2011. Throughout the year, Hormel Foods:

  • Was listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the second consecutive year. Our placement on this index puts us among the world’s top 10 percent of sustainable companies.
  • Achieved outstanding results from our Environmental Sustainability Best of the Best, an annual competition among all our locations. In 2011, the competition generated entries throughout all business segments that resulted in the reduction of 695.2 tons of solid waste to landfill, an increase in recycling tonnage by 27 percent, and more than 40.4 million gallons of water saved collectively.
  • Enhanced the “On Our Way to Ending Hunger” program, with contributions of more than $5 million in cash and product to aid hunger-relief efforts in the United States and abroad.
  • Completed and distributed our Supplier Responsibility Principles to ensure that our suppliers understand our expectations for sustainability.
  • Expanded the number of facilities that have been certified under the Global Food Safety Initiative food safety recognized standards.
  • Improved performance on a number of key metrics, including:
  • Beating our packaging minimization goal, reducing packaging by 4.2 million pounds; and
  • Continuing to outperform the industry average for safety rates.

We recognize there are areas that need additional attention, as well as issues that remain challenging for both our company and the industry in the short- and long-term. Among these are:

  • Energy reduction: While we did not meet our aggressive goal, the last five years have given us additional knowledge about reducing energy usage. We will be establishing a new goal from 2012 to 2020 that reflects this insight.
  • Health and wellness: We remain committed to providing a balanced portfolio of products that offers alternatives for all dietary needs. Understanding the national concern regarding sodium consumption, we have pledged to reduce sodium levels in select products within the branded retail product portfolio by an average of 15 percent by 2020.
  • Commodity prices: We remain concerned about rising commodity prices, especially corn, as these trends ultimately mean higher food prices for consumers. We are concerned about one of the root causes of this increase – corn-based ethanol – which diverts food into fuel production.

Our stakeholders can be assured that we will continue our corporate responsibility efforts in concert with Our Way: our values statement that defines how we operate every day in our approach to people, process, products, performance and philanthropy. We look forward to hearing your perspective – which you can share at http://2011csr.hormelfoods.com/feedback/ – on how we have adhered to the Our Way principles and how we have captured that performance in this report. We thank you.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey M. Ettinger
Chairman of the Board,
President and Chief Executive Officer