In addition to recycling, we work to reduce our packaging. We do this by collaborating throughout the company to devise innovative solutions and by partnering with our packaging suppliers. Hormel Foods uses more than 4,600 unique items to package and produce our products, including corrugated paperboard, labels, films, cans, plastic bags, displays, glass containers, metal closures and plastic closures. Approximately 80 percent of our product packaging by weight is recyclable and/or made from recycled materials.
Hormel Foods has a group of employees focused on packaging design who continuously look for minimization opportunities, and each member participates in an initiative to reduce materials in packaging. In 2011, each member of the team had a goal to identify 500,000 pounds of materials savings, amounting to a group goal to reduce packaging by 4 million pounds a year. The packaging team works with all departments and examines the entire supply chain for initiatives related to sustainability that will benefit all divisions. In 2011, this team initiated more than 58 total projects and completed 33 projects. Combined, these projects resulted in 4.29 million pounds in savings. Examples of successful projects include:
- Hormel® Compleats® microwave meals: At the end of fiscal year 2009, in joint dialogue with our tray supplier, Hormel Foods determined a potential way to eliminate waste at their production facility in Wisconsin. This new process would collect excess trim material from the trays and reprocess it back into their production. Implemented in the second quarter of 2011, this change resulted in a reduction of 1 million pounds of solid waste to landfill. Annually, we expect to achieve a reduction of 2 million pounds.
- Hormel™ Country Crock® refrigerated side dishes: Reduced corrugate board grade, which saved 560,000 pounds of material.
- Don Miguel: Changed the type of slip sheets they use to prevent their products from slipping during shipping. They moved from thick, corrugate slip sheets to new, thinner paperboard slip sheets. This transition helped them save approximately 280,000 pounds of fiber every year while still having the same quality and stacking strength. Additionally, they were able to reduce the number of truckloads moving the pallets of slip sheets and significantly increase their storage space at the plant.
- Farmer John: Converted to a new, nonlaminated package material for ribs and other bone-in products sold to both foodservice clients and retail consumers. The new material is tougher, stronger and weighs less. The elimination of the laminated layers needed for the previous packaging resulted in a material reduction of 44,000 pounds.
Due to the breadth of input materials used in production and packaging, we cannot report on the total weight of materials used throughout the company until we have a reliable process to measure and track this information.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: “Country Crock” and “Shedd’s Country Crock” are registered trademarks of the Unilever Group of Companies and used under license. All rights reserved.
Collaboration with suppliers
At Hormel Foods, we engage our suppliers to help us achieve our goal of reduced packaging. The Hormel Foods packaging group works with suppliers on an ongoing basis to increase their environmental focus and requires suppliers to meet with Hormel Foods at least once a year to discuss solutions to reduce packaging. Internally, we encourage our teams to explore environmentally-friendly options with their suppliers.