To help drive strategic innovation, Jeffrey M. Ettinger, chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer, issued the Billion Dollar Challenge to all Hormel Foods employees. The goal of the challenge was for Hormel Foods to generate $1 billion in sales from new products launched between fiscal year 2000 and fiscal year 2009. The company met the Billion Dollar Challenge in fiscal year 2007, announcing this achievement in the fourth quarter of 2007 and year-end earnings releases.
Following the completion of the Billion Dollar Challenge, a goal was set to achieve $2 billion in sales by 2012 from new products created since 2000. This goal was also successfully met, and our current challenge – $3B by 2016 – was developed.
The $3B by 2016 Challenge, to achieve $3 billion in total sales of products created since 2000 by the end of 2016, is underway and we are on track to achieve this goal.
In January 2013, Hormel Foods acquired the iconic SKIPPY® peanut butter products and has fully integrated the operations, logistics and sales of the brand into its Grocery Products division domestically, where it has performed well. The SKIPPY® brand will be a key driver of our international growth plans, especially in China.
As part of our product innovation approach, we have a team dedicated to innovation management. They are responsible for major new product development projects in our company, and we have a system for measuring key indicators to help manage the new product innovation process. Additionally, we have formalized an organization-wide governance system to maintain the necessary checks and balances.
Our consumer response team interacts directly with our customers on a daily basis to address product questions and gain valuable insight regarding consumer preferences. In 2013, the team fielded more than 124,000 contacts via email, toll-free lines and postal mail. These insights help us respond to changing consumer tastes and information needs appropriately.