Monitoring and improving our water usage practices continues to be a priority for Hormel Foods. Our water sources include municipal utilities and company-owned wells. Water reduction achievements are accomplished through ongoing equipment improvements and behavior-based initiatives with employees at our operations. Normalized usage (cubic meters/tons of production) for 2013 was 7.3, a five percent reduction from the prior year level.
Aside from water usage, scarcity and sourcing from water stressed regions is a growing concern across all industries – including the food industry. In addition to monitoring our water usage, we also evaluated our operations to determine the business risk associated with water scarcity. After careful evaluation, we learned that Hormel Foods does not have manufacturing operations in areas defined as water scarce regions by the World Resource Institute (annual renewable water supply per person < 1,700 cubic meters/person/year). Hormel Foods does have manufacturing locations in California that are identified as overall high risk using the World Resources Institute Aquaduct Water Risk Atlas. Hormel Foods continues to drive water reduction and efficiency improvements at these and all manufacturing locations.
Our target is to reduce total water use by 0.5 billion gallons by 2020. During 2013 we implemented projects that reduced water use by 0.154 billion gallons or 56 percent of our goal when combined with our 2012 progress. Total water use during 2013 was 4.8 billion gallons. We are currently on pace to achieve our water reduction goal prior to 2020.
Recent projects to reduce water consumption have included:
Implementing new spray nozzles:
At the Jennie-O Turkey Store Faribault (Minn.) Plant, the team reduced water use while maintaining a priority of food safety by implementing new nozzle types. The new nozzles provided the best performance while saving water. By implementing these new nozzles, the projected water savings is more than 22,000,000 gallons per year.
Reducing total water usage:
Our Beloit (Wis.) Plant reduced the amount of water needed to cool product in a stork cooker. The team installed piping and equipment from an under-utilized cooling tower and added a closed loop cooling system with the existing cooling system as a back-up. These improvements reduced water usage by more than 38,000,000 gallons in 11 months.