AUSTIN, Minn. — Hormel Foods Corporation distributed its largest annual profit sharing of more than $16.3 million to eligible hourly and salaried employees, establishing a new company record.

The company said it continues to be among an elite group in the industry for retaining its profit-sharing plan. Jay C. Hormel started the program in 1938 and it is voluntarily paid at the discretion of the company’s board of directors.

“We have a longstanding heritage of recognizing employees for their contribution to the company’s success,” said Jeffrey Ettinger, chairman of the board, president and CEO. “Our team members are to be commended for their efforts to deliver great-tasting products to our consumers, which resulted in ending the year with an all-time record for net sales greater than $7 billion.”