Hormel Foods and Cargill Announce Joint Venture

AUSTIN, Minn. - Hormel Foods Corp. and Cargill Inc. announced today that Hormel and Excel Corp., a subsidiary of Cargill, have signed a letter of intent to form a joint venture to market nationally branded fresh case ready beef and pork under the existing Hormel Always Tender brand name to retailers in the United States.

The current Hormel Always Tender brand primarily includes pork. Cargill's Excel Corporation subsidiary will supply fresh beef and pork to the nationally branded program, resulting in an enhanced assortment of fresh case ready pork and beef products that will be distributed in retail supermarkets and club stores nationwide. Each company would independently maintain existing fresh case ready programs and other meat programs, such as Hormel Foods further-processed meat products and Excel's branded premium meat programs.

The joint venture, named Precept Foods LLC, will be based in Austin, Minn. The name "Precept Foods" represents the shared vision of Joel Johnson, chairman and CEO of Hormel Foods, and Warren Staley, chairman and CEO of Cargill. "The word 'precept' illustrates our strategic plan for the joint venture," said Johnson. "It signifies direction, order, principle and truth - attributes already valued and exercised by both Excel and Hormel Foods. In essence, it means that the new company is about much more than just products. It's also about offering meaningful solutions to all of the audiences we serve. With this solution-oriented tenet in mind, Precept Foods will continue the innovative traditions of Excel and Hormel Foods."

"Excel brings a consistent, quality beef product that is worthy of the Hormel name," Johnson added. "Our success in the past 111 years is the result of continually raising the bar for the standard of quality required to carry the Hormel brand."

Staley, of Cargill, said: "Livestock producers have been urging packers to market more meat through branded programs, noting that branding is a key to increasing the value of the livestock they own. This joint venture will take branding to a higher level by rounding out the successful Hormel Always Tender brand name in a full line of fresh case ready beef and pork products."

Bill Buckner, president of Excel, said Hormel Foods and Excel will remain independent competitors with respect to operations outside the joint venture. "No two retail grocery customers are alike," Buckner said. "By adding nationally branded beef to nationally branded pork, the joint venture opens additional options for retail grocers and consumers."
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