Kitt Green, near Wigan in the North West of England, turns out more than 1 billion cans of beans every year. In 2018 it was Europe’s largest food factory. The firm’s beginnings were more humble. Henry Heinz set up his second food business in 1876.
His first, the rather less well-known venture was selling grated horseradish Together with two of his relations he set up the F & J Heinz Company launching their first product, Heinz Tomato Ketchup, in the United States, followed by a launch in the UK in 1886.
Heinz famously said ‘our market is the world’. Today Heinz offers high-quality and healthy products worldwide. With more than $10 billion in annual sales, Heinz’s 50 companies have leading brands in more than 200 countries.
The Heinz brand enjoys international renown and accounts for more than $3 billion in annual sales. Other well-known US brands include Ore-Ida, Boston Market Homestyle Meals, TGI Fridays, Classico, and Bagel Bites. Among Heinz’s best_ known overseas brands are Plasmon, ABC, Wattie’s, Pudliszki, Complan, and Long Fong.
Henry Heinz died in 1916 and handed over the reins to his son Howard, who was in turn succeeded by grandson Jack. The family ran the business until 1965, appointing professional managers thereafter. Johnson, the company’s seventh CEO, joined Heinz in 1982 as General Manager of New Businesses for Heinz USA.
In 1984, he was promoted to Vice President of Marketing for Ketchup, Foodservice, and Sauces. He was named President and CEO of Heinz Pet Products in 1988 and assumed leadership of Star-Kist Foods, Inc in May 1992, when the pet food business and Star-Kist were reunited.
These businesses were spun off and merged with Del Monte Foods in December 2002. In 1993, Johnson was named Senior Vice President of Heinz and joined the company’s Board of Directors.
His responsibilities included Heinz operations in the Asia/Pacific area, including Australia, New Zealand, China, Thailand, and South Korea, in addition to the canned tuna and pet food businesses of Star-Kist Foods, Inc. Johnson became President and Chief Operating Officer of Heinz in June 1996 and assumed the position of President and Chief Executive Officer on 30 April 1998.
He was named Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer on 12 September 2000. Johnson has an MBA from the University of Texas.
In February 2013 Warren Buffett’s investment firm Berkshire Hathaway, along with 3G Capital, agreed to buy Heinz for $28 billion (El 8 billion) in the food industry’s largest-ever acquisition.
In March 2015 Buffett announced the merger of Kraft and Heinz, with the latter having a 51 percent stake. Combined, they created the third-largest food and beverage company in the United States, with the merger expected to yield annual cost savings of $1.5 billion ( billion).
The new ownership will not affect the continuing life of the Heinz brand, which along with HP Sauce, Oscar Mayer, Lea & Perrins, Maxwell House, and Philadelphia will now share a corporate stable.
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