HJ Heinz is to review its $1 billion European frozen and seafood businesses as it seeks 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 possibly selling the businesses.

The operations include well-known brands such as Aunt Bessie’s, Weight Watchers from Heinz and John West and account for almost one-third of Heinz’s total sales in Europe.

Heinz Europe president and CEO Joe Jimenez said: “The businesses under review are successful but they 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 include baked beans and soups.

The company is also changing its European organisational structure.

It is eliminating the management layer at its European headquarters and running each business unit as an individual operating company reporting directly to its headquarters in Pittsburgh, US.

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