Bleeding Heinz

My friend Lee sent me a pointer to this story about Heinz and its Super Bowl ketchup labels, no doubt thinking that I would post something clever, like how I was anticipating them.

But buried in the story is the real Pittsburgh news item:
Separately, Heinz said Tuesday it has agreed to sell its European seafood business to Lehman Brothers Merchant Banking for 425 million euros ($506.1 million). Heinz said the sale will allow it to focus in Europe on its ketchup and sauces, infant nutrition, and meals and snacks businesses.

A once-great, once-diversified company is slowly bleeding to death, one product line at a time. Clever labelling can't obscure the facts. Heinz recently opened a "Global Innovation and Quality Center." When was the last time Heinz did something truly innovative?


8 Responses to "Bleeding Heinz"

rustbelter said... 2/22/2006 9:24 AM

PLAN E: The hell with reality

1. Sell Heinz to the Saudis and get out of the ketchup business. DelMonte can make ketchup anyways yinz guys.
2. The mayor could have the firefighters take collections with their boots every Mon., Wed. and Friday dahntown.
3. Recall Dan Onorato like they did in California and make Mario the Allegheny County CEO.
4. Sell North Park to CMU and build crooked offices all over the place.
(It would be just like Fore Systems and it has a golf course, so jack up the greens fees a buck for Mario.)
5. Get some Act 47 gear & a shopping cart and go around town collecting discarded aluminum cans and scrap them for a new arena. Look for Iron City aluminum bottles too! Yinz will be making the Burgh cleaner and helping the Pens at the same time.

Anonymous said... 2/22/2006 10:35 AM

First Heinz, now Wholey's. Where will it end?!

Wholey's sells Canadian fish processing plant

But seriously, I think it's a reach to conclude that the sale of a Heinz unit automotically points to the company's imminent demise.

Anonymous said... 2/22/2006 3:18 PM

Heinz has been lagging forever and there may be someone out there planning to do something about it:

CHICAGO, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Call volume in ketchup and packaged food maker H.J. Heinz Co. (HNZ.N: Quote, Profile, Research) increased on Tuesday after CNBC reported that billionaire investor Nelson Peltz could have his sights set on challenging the company's management to a proxy fight.

Amos_thePokerCat said... 2/22/2006 7:49 PM

The Motely Fool did one of their four part bull bear Dueling Fools on HNZ in Dec 2005.

Ya, lagging forever, if forever is six years. HNZ chart, after going from 4ish in '85, to a top around 55ish in '98-99, and then sideways for 6 years in the mid 30's.

Anybody else notice the Heinz reference in Globalization and Pittsburgh? It was The Rustbelt, Again?, and how Heinz outsourced their IT deptartment to IBM Global Services, comfirmed in the PG during the 2004 company annual meeting.

rustbelter said... 2/23/2006 7:28 AM

pIcksburgh is running out of people.
All the really smart young people are busy up at CMU building a Heinz red humvee (it's a part of a top secret ketchup war) with no driver to race with the kids at Stanford who have a fancy VW and top secret Google funding that can drive itself across the Baja. I just got word that there is a new surfing board being developed in the South Side that can ride the waves with no surfer. Hang 10 yinz guys!

Allegheny County is doing a study on a wave making machine that may turn the mighty Mon and Allegheny into a surfing destination here in the Burgh. Google's coming to town next. The wave pools were the prototype to attract people from California back to the Burgh. This is all part of the tunnel under the river that Port Authority is planning. It's really a secret DOD funded wave machine as part of the war on beer, currently being fought with Pittsburgh Brewing. Speakin' of Heinz, Heinz meanz shitz! I had a Silver Star hot dog down at Heinz stadium loaded up with Heinz relish, ketchup and mustard and the line to the toilet was a mile long. You get the idea. You really can't outsource the toilets, unless yinz want everybody making a break for port-o-potties out in the parking lots. With any luck we'll win something this year and if we don't there is always next year. Don't outsource the Steelers, the locals can still run a football team so with any luck they will figure out how to run a computer without ten million Chinese censors or a bunch of $7.00 an hour Indian engineers. The big wheel keeps turning here in our lovely rustbelt. Go Bucs!

rustbelter said... 2/23/2006 7:47 AM

Heinz should start making butter in Pittsburgh. They could call it Heinz Better Butter and put Lynn Swann on the label and sell it for 88 cents. You could put it on your Francos potatos. They could also make chips and dip here. Snack food is the future. The Burgh could also support a bullet factory. We can have butter and bullets.

Amos_thePokerCat said... 2/25/2006 11:15 PM

Oh, RustyB, so close, but no cigar.

We did make guns at one time. Pretty collectable since there was only 55k of them, out of a total WWII production run of several million.

rustbelter said... 3/02/2006 12:16 PM

Maybe Pittsburgh can have a civil war with squirt guns. South Hills vs. North Hills. The loser is forced to live in the North Side for life.

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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at] Mike also blogs at, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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