Heinz is to review its $1bn European frozen and seafood businesses in a bid to drive more profitable and sustained growth through focusing on core categories, as predicted two weeks ago in The Grocer.
The company said it was exploring all strategic options including selling the businesses, which account for almost one-third of Heinz’s $3.3bn European sales.
The review will cover top brands such as John West as well as Heinz’s involvement with licensed brands such as Aunt Bessie’s and Linda McCartney.
Together, the businesses employ 7,000 people at 11 facilities, with 2,000 in the UK. Employees were notified this week that the review will take up to nine months.
Heinz Europe chief Joe Jimenez said the businesses were successful but “do not fit into our long-range vision of becoming a faster growing, more focused company”.
The review will enable Heinz to accelerate growth in three core categories: ketchup, condiments and sauces; infant nutrition; and quick serve meals, which includes baked beans and soups. It aims to achieve annual sales growth of 3%-4% and earnings growth of 6%-8% in Europe.

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