Heinz! The 5th Largest Food Company in the World

The H. J. Heinz Company, better known simply as Heinz, is an American food processing company based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Originally, the company was founded by Henry John Heinz in 1869. Heinz manufactures thousands of food products in plants on six continents, and markets these products in more than 200 countries and territories. The company claims to have 150 number-one or number-two brands worldwide. Heinz ranked first in Ketchup in the US with a market share in excess of 50%; the Ore-Ida label held 46% of the frozen potato sector in 2003.

Since 1896, the company has used its “57 Varieties” slogan; it was inspired by a sign advertising 21 styles of shoes, and Henry Heinz chose the number 57 even though the company manufactured more than 60 products at the time. In February 2013, Heinz agreed to be purchased by Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital for $23 billion. On March 25, 2015, Kraft announced its merger with Heinz, arranged by Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital. The resulting Kraft Heinz Company  is the fifth largest food company in the world. Berkshire Hathaway became a majority owner of Heinz on June 18, 2015. After exercising a warrant to acquire 46 million shares of common stock for a total price of over $461 million, Berkshire increased its stake to 52.5%. The companies completed the merger on July 2, 2015.

Heinz was founded by and is named for Henry J. Heinz , who was born in the United States to German immigrants. His father was originally from Kallstadt  (then in Bavaria, now part of Rhineland-Palatinate ), the son of a Heinz and Charlotte Louisa Trump, a great-great-aunt of 45th United States president, Donald Trump, and a Heinz. His mother Anna was also from Bavaria, and they met in Pittsburgh.

Henry J. Heinz began packing foodstuffs on a small scale at Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania, in 1869. There he founded Heinz Noble & Company with a friend, L. Clarence Noble, and began marketing horseradish. The first product in Heinz and Noble’s new Anchor Brand (a name selected for its biblical meaning of hope) was his mother Anna Heinz’s recipe for horseradish. The young Heinz manufactured it in the basement of his father’s former house.

The company went bankrupt in 1875. The following year Heinz founded another company, F & J Heinz, with his brother John Heinz and a cousin, Frederick Heinz. One of this company’s first products was Heinz Tomato Ketchup. The company continued to grow.

In 1888, Heinz bought out his other two partners and reorganized the company as the H. J. Heinz Company. Its slogan, “57 varieties”, was introduced by Heinz in 1896. Inspired by an advertisement he saw while riding an elevated train in New York City (a shoe store boasting “21 styles”), Heinz picked the number more or less at random because he liked the sound of it, selecting “7” specifically because, as he put it, of the “psychological influence of that figure and of its enduring significance to people of all ages.

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