It has been less than three months since Hormel Foods introduced its Happy Little Plants line of plant-based protein products, but the initial response has been positive, Hormel Foods Chairman, President and CEO Jim Snee said.
The company introduced the brand, which contains non-GMO soy protein, in early September during the Barclays Global Consumer Conference.
During the Hormel Foods quarterly earnings call on November 26, Snee was asked by one analyst about how much sales of that product line will affect the company’s financial situation. Snee acknowledged that in the short term, Happy Little Plants’ impact won’t be much, but he said he expects the plant-based portfolio to grow.
“The contribution is going to be minimal in 2020. Really, for us, it’s learning about that space,” Snee said.
The reception of Happy Little Plants at the retail and consumer level has been positive, Snee said, but for now, the brand is “probably seeing more acceptance in the foodservice space.”
He also said the company has made some progress with its blended protein products, which include the Applegate Blend Burger and the Hormel Fuse Burger, both of which contain both animal and plant-based proteins.
Snee indicated Hormel Foods is building on the early positive reception to those products and that Hormel’s “agile team” is working on building the plant-forward portfolio.
Hormel Foods Corporation, based in Austin, Minnesota, is a global branded food company with over $9 billion in annual revenues across 75 countries worldwide. It is the parent company of Jennie-O Turkey Store, which is the second largest turkey company in the United States. Other key brands of Hormel Foods include Spam, Skippy, Natural Choice, Justin’s, Columbus, Wholly Guacamole and Hormel Black Label.
Also during the earnings call, Snee discussed the performance of the Jennie-O Turkey Store segment, and whether the current African swine fever outbreak will affect the pricing of Spam.