H.J. Heinz Company
H.J. Heinz Company, commonly known as Heinz, famous for its “57 Varieties” slogan, was founded in 1869, by Henry John Heinz, in Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania.
In 1869, the 25 year old Henry went into business with L. Clarence Noble as “Heinz & Noble.” The first product they launched was none other than horseradish. The sauce was unique in that it was sold in clear glass bottles to display its purity, whereas competitors used colored glass to hide the poor quality of their products. There was a reason that founder Henry John Heinz displayed his product in transparent bottles. He took a stand on quality and proudly displayed all of his ...view middle of the document...
After the banking crisis, Heinz started over with brother, John and cousin, Frederick, in 1875. The new partnership with his brother and cousin, “H. & J. Heinz”, came into being. In the depression brought on by the banking collapse, it was a difficult first year, but one in which a new product was introduced and would become its most well-known product – tomato ketchup. Red and green pepper sauce soon followed, then cider vinegar, apple butter, chili sauce, mincemeat, mustard, tomato soup, olives, pickled onions, pickled cauliflower, baked beans and the first sweet pickles ever brought to market. The American table was brightening.
From that day on, Henry Heinz had hit on two of what he called the Important Ideas that were to shape his business: 1) That most people are willing to let someone else take over a share of their kitchen operations; and 2) That a pure article of superior quality will find a ready market through its intrinsic value – if properly packaged and promoted. Conventional wisdom now, these were bold conceptions in their day. Later, Heinz added sequels: 3) To improve the product in glass or can, you must improve it while still in the ground; and 4) The world is our market.
In 1886, Heinz traveled to England, and with him, along came seven varieties of their finest and newest goods at the time. He began distributing goods through Fortnum & Mason, England’s leading food purveyor. Ten years later, the first overseas office opened near the Tower of London, joined in 1905, by a factory in Peckham and in 1919, by a site in Harlesden that soon became the second English plant of Heinz. Others were to follow until Heinz became a Purveyor to the Queen and most British food shoppers came to regard Heinz as a British company.
On May 14, 1919, after a week’s illness, Henry John Heinz died of pneumonia at the age of 75. He was succeeded by his son, Howard, who had already taken over much of the company’s operations. By that time, the younger Heinz had introduced a regime of scientific processing and quality control into a system that included 25 factories and 200 smaller facilities, ranging from pickle salting stations to bottle plants and a seed farm.
Through the Howard Heinz era, as in that of his father, all growth was internal; even overseas ventures were built from scratch. This continued to be the policy for most of the tenure of H. J. Heinz II, who became president in 1941. The first exception was the acquisition of a food processor in the Netherlands in 1958, and soon the exception became the rule. In the next few years, companies were acquired in Italy, Portugal, Mexico, and several in the U.S.
In 1966, R. Burt Gookin became president and the pace of acquisitions and growth quickened. By 1972, Heinz had reached the billion-dollar mark in sales,...