The maker of such thrifty pantry staples as Spam lunch meat and Dinty Moore stew has turned sophisticated. Besides canned meats, Hormel Foods produces a slew of refrigerated processed meats and deli items, ethnic entrees, and frozen foods, sold under the Hormel brand, as well as Don Miguel and MegaMex Mexican, Country Crock (side dishes), and Lloyd's barbeque. Food service offerings include Hormel Natural Choice meats, Café H ethnic, Austin Blues barbeque, and Bread Ready pre-sliced meats. Hormel is also a major US turkey and pork processor, churning out Jennie-O turkey, Cure 81 hams, and Always Tender pork. More than 30 Hormel brands are ranked #1 or #2 in their respective markets.
Hormel Foods operates five business segments. The largest, Refrigerated Foods, including pork and beef products and the company's 50%-owned Precept Foods joint venture, accounts for 50% of total sales, followed by Jennie-O Turkey (18%), and shelf-stable grocery products, such as the MegaMex Foods line, with 17%.
Not so familiar with consumers, the company's specialty foods segment (11% of sales) packages and sells a variety of sugar and sugar-substitute products, salt and pepper, liquid-portion products, dessert mixes, ready-to-drink products, gelatin products, and private-label canned meats. Its primary customers are retail and foodservice firms. The segment also makes nutritional food products and supplements for hospitals, nursing homes, and other marketers of nutritional products.
The firm's international arm, Hormel Foods International, brings in the rest.
While nearly 93% of the company's sales come from the US, Hormel boasts operations and/or joint ventures across the globe, including in Australia, Canada, China (the world's biggest market for pork), Japan, and the Philippines.
Sales and Marketing
Wal-Mart is Hormel's largest customer, accounting for about 14% of the company's fiscal 2014 (ends October) sales. The world's largest retailer purchases products from each of Hormel's five business segments.
The company has reported stable revenue growth since fiscal 2010. In fiscal 2014 Hormel’s revenues increased by 6% thanks to higher sales from all its business segments. International segment revenues increased by 19% due to strong sales in China operations and pork exports, along with the addition of the China-based SKIPPY peanut butter sales. Refrigerated Foods segment revenues grew by 9% as the company successfully managed reduced (but higher priced) volumes processed through its harvest facilities.
Hormel’s net income increased by 15% in fiscal 2014 thanks to higher revenues and operating income.
In fiscal 2014 the company’s operating cash inflow grew to $746.88 million (from $637.81 million in fiscal 2013) thanks to higher net income and a change in working capital as a result of cash generated from prepaid expenses and other current assets and accounts payable/accrued expenses.
Hormel's strategy is to extend existing brands and expand into new branded items. While Spam may be its best known brand, Hormel has a diverse and growing portfolio of consumer products, with Skippy peanut butter as the newest addition. The company is focusing on developing and acquiring new products to drive sales. (In 2012 Hormel achieved its "Go for $2B by 2012" goal of realizing $2 billion in total sales from new products introduced since 2000). Hormel is also looking to grow its ethic business at home as well as its international sales.
Its research and development expenditures for fiscal 2014, 2013, and 2012, were $29.9 million, $29.9 million, and $29.8 million, respectively.
The company's Precept Foods joint venture with Cargill markets case-ready fresh beef and pork under the Always Tender brand. Hormel operates another joint venture with Herdez Del Fuerte to market Mexican foods in the US. Called MegaMex Foods, it is integral to Hormel's plan to further diversify its portfolio.
In 2014 Hormel announced that the company’s SPAM Museum will be relocating to downtown Austin (Minnesota) to support the community’s Vision 2020 project for revitalizing the city’s historic downtown area.
In mid-2015 the company announced plans to purchase organic processed meat company Applegate, which will operate as a standalone subsidiary. The purchase price is set at $775 million and will bring Applegate's deli meats, frozen burgers, and sausages into the same pantry as SPAM and Dinty Moore stew.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Looking to beef up its menu of non-meat protein products, Hormel has been particularly acquisitive in recent years. In 2014 the company agreed to acquire Muscle Milk maker CytoSport in a $450 million deal. Having earned a top spot in the $1 billion protein drink category, CytoSport will help Hormel attract younger customers. Previously, Hormel acquired Skippy peanut butter in 2013 from Unilever for $700 million. (Hardly peanuts, the deal represented Hormel's largest purchase ever.) With about $370 million in annual sales, Skippy is the #2 brand of peanut butter in the US (behind Smucker's Jif) and the leader in China. The company believes Skippy should be a useful complement to its sales strategy in China for the SPAM family of products.