Our Food Essay Contests

Three winners of the seventh annual Hormel Foods MLK essay contest visited the Hormel Foods corporate offices today, February 27, at 7:30 a.m., to read their winning essays. The students – Cooper Dorsey from Arkansas, Amanda Rodriguez and Mya Hollingshead, both from Minnesota – claimed the top honors from more than 500 submissions this year. Their visit to the corporate office marks the first time the company has invited essay winners in for a reading.

The Hormel Foods African American employee resource group (HAARG) sponsors the essay competition for elementary and middle school students across the United States. Contestants are asked to write an essay with the theme, “What Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Means to Me”.

“We are proud to continue this contest for the seventh straight year and to help children across the country learn, interpret and personalize the messages of Dr. King and what it means to them. There are five winning essays chosen from each school, and today, three of our top-prize winning students will read their essays in front of our employees in Austin. ” said Antoine Destin, HAARG president emeritus.

The competition promotes the value and importance of cultural differences and provides a platform for celebrating diversity. The goals of the program are to promote Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy, encourage children to aim high, give them exposure to minority professionals in corporate America and to create a lasting partnership between Hormel Foods and local schools. Elementary schools across the country are invited to join the competition. Since the competition’s debut in 2011, participating schools have increased from four to more than two dozen in 2018.


U.S. citizens enrolled full time (12 credit hours per semester) in an accredited university or college in the United States for the 2016-17 school year with a cumulative GPA of 2.75 (or 3.0 for incoming college freshman) or higher on a 4.0 scale. The Pritzker Food Safety Scholarship will be awarded to a student whose essays demonstrate a drive to improve food safety and protect public health.


Any student who fits the eligibility requirements listed above can apply. To enter, a student must submit two 300-500 word essays on two of the food safety topics listed on this page.

For submission, simply email your essays and a signed content contribution agreement (as an attachment in PDF or Word format) to [email protected]. Include the following in your email:

  • your full name
  • your address
  • the school you will be attending in 2016-17.


The essay submission deadline is 12:00 midnight EST June 1st. The winner will be notified via email.


All essays received will be reviewed by the scholarship committee, including Fred Pritzker, founder and president.

One winner will be chosen for the spring and fall academic semesters.


The scholarship funds awarded are to be used for tuition and books only. Once awarded, a check will be written to the recipient’s school of choice and credited for academic costs. This scholarship is non-renewable and is only good for a one-year cycle. Recipients are only eligible to receive the scholarship once during their lifetime.

Our law firm will select and award the essay winner a $3,000 scholarship. Again, the deadline for the 2016-17 academic year is June 1, 2016.

Take our food safety quiz.

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