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Heinz Corporation, commonly referred to as Heinz and popular for its slogan “57 Varieties” and ketchup is an American food company that was founded in 1896 by Henry Heinz. The company was started as a result of a childhood ambition by Heinz to deal in vegetables. Originally, the company’s headquarters were established in Sharpsburg, Pa.; currently, the Company’s headquarters are located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Over the years, the company has grown to become an international company operating in more than two hundred countries on six continents; the company is engaged in marketing over 5,700 products (Murray, 1997). This paper will try to analyze the history of the company over the years it has been in existence; the challenges that it has faced and the efforts that the company has employed in overcoming these obstacles. Additionally, it will be in the interest of the paper to analyze the products of the company and the market share information for the company.
The business was originally operated as a partnership between Heinz and Clarence Noble in 1869 as a business engaged in selling bottled horseradish. Later, the business incorporated vinegar, pickles, and sauerkraut as its products. However, the business was faced with its first challenge five years after commencing its operations; the company run bankrupt in 1873 as a result of the 1873 panic. In 1875, the company was revived with the assistance of two additional partners. In addition to selling the original array of products, the company incorporated a new product Heinz which developed into the now famous ketchup. In 1888, Heinz purchased the shares that were held by his co-partners and gave the company a new name; H.J. Heinz Company. By the instance the company was being listed in the stock market in 1900; the company had set itself as the primary producer of the following products in the US market: vinegar, pickles, ketchup, and mustard.
For several years the company has been popular for its pickles. By the 1880s the media had described the company as the Pickle King a name that has lasted for the company since then (Alberts, 1973). The slogan “57 Varieties” was developed by Heinz in 1892 when the company was engaged in manufacturing 60 varying products. This was among the creative advertising antics adopted by Heinz; the slogan aimed to spark interest in the food company and alter the people’s eating habits. However, the company has grown over the years and now it is engaged in producing hundreds of products. The tremendous success of the company can be linked to various factors such as its support of the Pure Food and Drugs Act among many other factors.
The company opened a factory in Great Britain in 1905; this marked the initial steps by the company to expand globally. In 1906 and contradiction to the practices of other food retailers, the company was the first to allow public inspections as a way of reassuring the public of the sanitary conditions that its products were produced. Additionally, the company is renowned for its extravagant but striking advertising antics such as the adoption of the first light billboards and the forty feet high electric lit pickle that amazed New York shoppers for several years. In 1893, at the International World Fair that took place in Chicago; Heinz launched the “Pickle Pins” a craze that would soon sweep over the entire US market. Additionally, Heinz was a devout Christian; thus, he prohibited the publishing of advertisements by his companies on Sundays. The company was also distinguished for the compassionate treatment it accorded its workers; during the governance of Heinz as the managing director of the company did not record any strike by the workers. These form some of the reasons that can be attributed to the success of the company.
In 1963, the company’s presidency was taken over by Burt Gookin. The new president changed the conventional emphasis of the company; cut on the conventional businesses and introduced new products. The company acquired various companies such as Weight Watchers International and eased its competition in the soup market. The new president also instituted cost-cutting measures, downsized some of the product packages, and called for plants to increase their productivity. However, the company was denied an opportunity to acquire Bumble Bee Seafoods in 1988. Despite the setback, the company successfully acquired Heinz Pet Productions and StarKist Foods in its efforts of expanding to the global markets.
The new approaches
The company commenced its expansion into the third world markets by venturing into China, Korea, and Thailand. These new approaches facilitated the company to double its trade within the ten years to 1990; the sales increased from $3 billion to over $6 billion in 1990. During this period the company spread its investments uniformly in both the home and the global market. The company controlled 30% of the global baby foodstuff market; the major rival in the baby foodstuff market was the U.S. market leader Gerber Foods (Murray, 1997). In the 1990s, the global recession and the increased international competition adversely affected the company leading to a decline in the company’s stock prices. To minimize the negative impacts, the company made various divestments, cut the staff numbers, and decreased its advertisement expenditures to reduce the losses the company faced in the domestic market. Despite the increased market challenges, the company undertook measures that led to almost full recovery (Alexander & Baker, 1994). The company reaffirmed its decision to concentrate on the domestic market and to what is referred to as “constant rebirth”; the company undertook several acquisitions, increased its market share, and instituted a major restructuring plan that was referred to by the name Project Millennia. This effort to the company to almost hit its projected sales of $9.5 million; in 1997, the company attained sales of $9.3 million.
The company has grown to produce a variety of products. Currently, the company is among the largest food companies globally. The company is engaged in producing: ketchup and other condiments, ice-covered foods, baby foods, cereals, soups, and pasta rations among other manufactured food rations. The popularity of the company is overwhelming; the majority of the American food shoppers and people who eat in restaurants are familiar with the company. The company has grown to be the dominant player in the US market, especially for its ketchup product. Globally, the company has established several modern plants and has been classified I include: Skippy peanut butter, Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce, StarKrist tuna, the frozen weight watchers foods, the Classico sauces, TGI Friday’s, and the frozen Ore Ida potatoes. The company has also established various new businesses, these businesses include baby foods, pet rations, tuna, foodstuff service, and weight-reducing products. The company serves varied customers, they include the army, food retail stores, and the foodservice industry.
Alexander, K.L., & Baker, S. (1994, June 13). The New Life of O’Reilly. Business Week, 124(64), 68-76.
Alberts, R.C. (1973). The Good Provider. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Murray, M. (1997). Era Is Nearing an End As Heinz’s Johnson Assumes More Control. Wall Street Journal, 86(24), 62-84.