This company wants to feed the world—and make it a better place

After 132 years, Hormel Foods is still innovating and maintaining its unique reputation. 

A 25-foot-high sculpture stands in Austin, Minn., at the headquarters of Hormel Foods. It’s a giant fork, fashioned from thousands of regular forks sent in from employees around the world—cutlery of all sizes, shapes, backgrounds, and origins. The artwork, by artist Gordon Huether, sends a message: This company and its people are anything but ordinary.

The sculpture sits within Inspired People Plaza, a nod to the company’s purpose statement, “Inspired People. Inspired Food.” The 20,000 global team members tap their inspiration to feed millions. The organization’s foods are in more than 85% of U.S. households, not to mention those on other continents. 

"Hormel Foods is committed to responsibly shaping the future of food, with a reputation as a company that cares about our people, consumers, communities, and planet," says Jim Snee, chairman of the board, president, and chief executive officer at Hormel Foods. 

The company has evolved significantly since George A. Hormel began his venture in 1891. Today, Hormel Foods is a $12.5 billion enterprise with distinguished brands, such as Planters, Skippy, Applegate, Justin’s, Columbus, and Wholly Guacamole, alongside long-standing brands, including Hormel Black Label bacon, Hormel chili, and SPAM, which has had record sales for the past eight years. The broad portfolio would undoubtedly please the company’s founder, whose motto was: “Originate. Don’t imitate.” 

Hormel Foods has invented, expanded, and acquired brands over the decades while exhibiting exceptional financial success. The company holds S&P 500 and Dividend King rankings, having increased quarterly stockholder payments for 50-plus years. And even amid the pandemic, the organization bought Planters in its largest-ever acquisition.

Showing it’s possible to create economic value and social value simultaneously, the enterprise is on a path to make the world better. Its 20 By 30 Challenge outlines its 20 environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals through the end of 2030, with commitments to water conservation, packaging reduction, regenerative agriculture, and alternative energy sourcing.

These goals align with two more key priorities: equitable education and food security. The organization funds Inspired Pathways, which covers the cost of a two-year college degree for team members’ dependent children, and it is developing a globally replicable blueprint for creating food-secure communities.

“We are incredibly proud of the role we play in creating equity in education, building food-secure communities, and evolving the food system to be more sustainable. We are committed to continuing to make a difference in our communities around the world, today and into the future,” says Snee.

Since its founding, Hormel Foods has challenged the status quo and stayed true to its mission of producing food responsibly. Echoing those sentiments perfectly, there’s a plaque next to the fork sculpture outside the company’s campus, stating: “Food has the power to change lives, lift up communities, and bring people together.”