Hormel Foods has a group of employees dedicated to packaging design who continuously look for minimization opportunities, and each member participates in an initiative to reduce materials in packaging. In 2013, 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 2013, this team initiated more than 60 total projects and completed 37 projects. Combined, these projects resulted in 4.72 million pounds in savings.
Hormel Foods uses approximately 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.
Examples of successful projects include:
Excess space was eliminated inside the brown carton of our Hormel® Natural Choice® deli meat packaging. By reducing the packaging from roughly 8 inches wide to 6.55 inches wide, we were able to reduce the amount of paperboard, film, zipper and corrugated used, which resulted in a savings of roughly 800,000 pounds of packaging material.
We optimized the shipping case design for our retail 1 lb. Hormel® bacon by changing from a full overlap case to a 1-inch overlap case. This resulted in a savings of more than 364,000 pounds.
We introduced a machine set up caser and palletizer for our Hormel® cooked hams line. Our cases were redesigned to run on the automated line, which resulted in an annual savings of 596,000 pounds.
We switched to an industry standard tote bin design and eliminated an internal insert, which amounted to a savings more than 1,279,000 pounds.
We eliminated j-board (paper carrier board) by moving to a fully printed film for our 1 lb. retail turkey bacon. This resulted in a savings of 314,132 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.