AUSTIN, Minn. – Officials with Applegate, a subsidiary of Hormel Foods Corp. specializing in natural and organic meats, announced on July 25 enhancements to both its packaging and the formulation of its deli meats. The company announced it is removing “the controversial ingredient,” carrageenan from its poultry-based deli meats. The decision was made in response to customer feedback and despite the US Dept. of Agriculture’s decision to not ban the seaweed-derived ingredient from organic foods.

“We’re proud to be a brand that not only listens to consumer feedback, but a brand that takes action on that feedback,” said Nicole Glenn, Applegate’s vice president of marketing. “Carrageenan is an ingredient Applegate consumers said they wanted removed from our poultry deli meat, so when we developed a way to replace it and improve the taste of those varieties, it was an easy decision to move forward with a carrageenan-free recipe.”

The Bridgewater, New Jersey-based company also announced plans to modify its deli ham recipe for improved taste and texture while also discontinuing its rectangular shape. Not only the deli ham but all the Applegate product lines will undergo a packaging design makeover, which will include a new resealable container. Like the ingredient initiative, the new packaging design was also the result of customer feedback, Glenn said. The change will be implemented through the end of the year.

“For consumers who took the time to call and write to us about their difficulties opening our deli meat packaging, I can confidently say the switch to a new deli packaging with a peel and reseal tab provides a much more enjoyable experience,” she said.