Skip navigation

Hormel Foods Corporation

Hormel Foods Corporation was established in 1891 as Geo. A. Hormel & Company in Austin, Minnesota, by George A. Hormel, an ambitious entrepreneur and the son of German immigrants.

He built his first plant in an abandoned creamery located on the banks of the Red Cedar River approximately one-half mile northeast of Austin. Within three years, a large two-story brick building was going up behind the creamery. This was the first of a number of expansions at the site over ensuing years.

Sales of fresh pork products flourished in the late 1890s. The company set up its first branch sales office in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1901. Additional branches were opened in the years that followed, including a distribution center in Duluth, Minnesota, in 1904 and offices in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1905; Chicago, Illinois, in 1913; Dallas, Texas, in 1916; and Atlanta, Georgia, in 1918.

As early as 1917, Hormel instituted an impressive export business that accounted for approximately one-third of the company's sales volume. By 1924, more than one million hogs were being processed annually at the Austin plant--nearly a 200 percent increase over the number handled in 1922.

Hormel developed the world's first canned ham in 1926. In 1927, the company initiated a distribution system for its products involving "sausage trucks," vans driven by salesmen who sold and delivered products on specific routes rather than relying on product distribution by refrigerated railroad cars.

The company's founder, George A. Hormel, retired from handling the day-to-day operations of the firm in 1927 at the age of 67, but continued to serve as chief executive officer. His son, Jay, was named acting president and became president in 1929 when George was elected chairman of the board of directors.

The first Hormel manufacturing facility to produce branded products outside Austin was established in Los Angeles, California, in 1928. By 1933, distribution centers had been set up in 14 cities across America.


Compensation & Retirement Competitive Salary plus Bonus
  • Profit Sharing Trust Plan
  • Non-Contributory Pension Plan
  • 401(k) Tax Deferred Investment Plan
  • Stock Bonus Plan
  • Stock Purchase Plan Health Care
  • Medical Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Vision Insurance
  • Prescription Drug Plan
  • Flexible Spending Account
  • Group Life Insurance
  • Disability Insurance
  • Accidental Death Insurance Additional Benefits
  • Paid Vacation
  • Educational Assistance
  • Wellness Program
  • Educational Matching Gifts Program
  • Career Development Tools
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Company Vehicle for Sales Representatives
  • Relocation Assistance

  • Career Opportunities

    Hormel Foods Acquires Valley Fresh, Inc.


    Acquisition Accretive, Creates Number One Position in the Category

    AUSTIN, Minn., April 3, 2006 – Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE: HRL) today announced it has acquired, for the purchase price of approximately $78 million, Valley Fresh, Inc. (Valley Fresh) of Turlock, Calif. Annual sales are approximately $68 million, and Hormel Foods expects the deal to be accretive to its 2006 earnings.

    Valley Fresh has the leading market share in the canned ready-to-eat chicken category and distributes more than 50 convenient precooked chicken products on a national basis, primarily under the Valley Fresh brand. Valley Fresh is a privately held company and employs approximately 265 employees at its 90,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Turlock.

    “Our acquisition of Valley Fresh further strengthens the portfolio within our Grocery Products business segment,” said Jeffrey M. Ettinger, president and chief executive officer. “This healthy and convenient line of products is on-trend with today’s consumer and we are excited about the growth opportunity within this category. We now have the number one position in several key shelf-stable categories, including canned ready-to-eat chicken, canned luncheon meat and canned chili and stew,” Ettinger stated.

    “Valley Fresh provides manufacturing capabilities that will deliver synergies to our existing canned ready-to-eat chicken line of products. We will also benefit from leveraging the Hormel Foods purchasing, sales, marketing and logistics systems,” Ettinger concluded.


    The company enjoys a strong reputation among consumers, retail grocers, and foodservice and industrial customers for products highly regarded for quality, taste, nutrition, convenience, and value.


    strive to prevent the release of substances that cause environmental harm to the air, water or land. train and encourage our employees to conduct their activities in an environmentally responsible manner. conserve natural resources through careful planning and efficient use. minimize waste through source reduction and recycling. handle and dispose of wastes through safe, environmentally responsible methods. conserve energy by improving the efficiency of its use in our operations. conduct regular environmental assessments at our facilities and make recommendations for improvements. encourage our business partners to strive for the same high levels of environmental performance. review the impact on the environment during corporate planning and decision making.