• Tue. Apr 23rd, 2024

Unleashing Innovation in Global Markets – Inspired

Food consumers around the world are more similar than they are different. By some estimates, our shared food preferences are 90% similar. This makes sense, given that we are all human. Our bodies are all energized by starchy carbohydrates, whether they come from rice, wheat or another grain, and we all need the same set of macro and micro-nutrients to thrive. Protein is a key part of that nutrient mix to help our bodies repair cells as well as make new ones.

While there might be broad similarities, understanding that last 10% of differences across cultures is a complex task, yet it’s critical if your goal is to innovate new products in international markets. Different cultures have complex flavor profiles that have been shaped over millennia by climate, soil, farming technology and cooking traditions. Our individual food palate is shaped even before we are born by the foods our mothers eat and is refined over the course of our lives. Local cuisines, in other words, become intimately tied to our identity. “We are what we eat,” the saying goes. This is true both physiologically and psychologically.

Hormel Foods has long been a company with global reach, but as recently as two decades ago, most of its international business was through exports. In the past few decades the company has focused on building its presence in countries through joint ventures, subsidiaries, licensing agreements and plant facilities. Currently, Hormel Foods operates or partners in numerous facilities across the world, including Europe, Asia, South America and Australia. Asia has become a vital growth area with operations in South Korea, Japan, China and the Philippines. In all, Hormel Foods has a vast global portfolio outside the U.S. of over 40 major brands sold in more than 80 countries.

With this successful foothold in dozens of foreign markets, the company’s international business in both retail and foodservice channels focuses on achieving growth through new product innovation. Driven by an ambitious objective to double its international business by 2025, the Hormel Foods international team comprises scientists, marketers and brand managers, data analysts, operations and product gurus from many corners of the world. The global presence of Hormel Foods allows for insights and innovations from different geographic regions to be shared and implemented across the company.

The key to success within each market is to fully dive into the local context and community. By immersing themselves in the cultural fabric, the global team collects insights that lead to product adaptations and unique marketing approaches. It isn’t just about catering to local preferences; it’s about building brands and products that resonate with local communities and create authentic connections. Beyond building competitive advantage in a crowded market, the goal is to build trust.

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