Hormel Foods: Plant protein ‘certainly on our minds’

The public has not heard much to date about the development of new alternative protein products from Hormel Foods, but CEO Jim Snee says plant-based protein is “certainly on our minds.”

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(Hormel Foods)
(Hormel Foods)

The public has not heard much to date about the development of new alternative protein products from Hormel Foods, but CEO Jim Snee says plant-based protein is “certainly on our minds.”

Snee, along with Tom Day, Hormel’s executive vice president of Refrigerated Foods, spoke on about the company’s future with alternative proteins during the 2019 dbAccess Global Consumer Conference on June 11 in Paris.

Combining meat and plant-based protein

While there is a demand for both meat proteins and plant-based protein products, Day also mentioned a need for a product that combines the two.

He and Snee spoke of two such products that were recently introduced: The Applegate Blend Burger and the Hormel Fuse burger. Both are made from a blend of either beef or turkey, and plant-based proteins like mushrooms.

“We’ve been on a journey in regard to looking at plant-based and alternative based,” Day said. “I think the question that is still our there yet that remains to be answered is … ‘Is it plant, or is it meat, or is it a combination of the both of them?’ We personally believe with the journey that we’ve been on is the idea of combining or blending meat and some plant-based protein in order to find a product that works. We’re in the food business. The product has got to taste good. It has to deliver on what consumers are looking for.”

Other products and possibilities

Snee said the company isn’t stopping at blended products. For example, Hormel Foods is developing a plant-based pizza topping.

And more alternative protein products are being examined, he added.

“We also have some innovative retail initiatives that we’re working on that we haven’t been very public about, but it’s something that is certainly on our minds, like everyone else,” said Snee. “And there is a lot of work happening, both in the marketplace and behind the scenes.”

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