Heinz Company and its subsidiaries manufacture and market an extensive line of processed food and related products throughout the world. It is the largest prepared food supplier to the US food service market which comprises of restaurants, and other away-from-home eating places. The company's products are organized into six core businesses: ketchup; sauces and condiments; tuna and other seafood products; infant foods; pet products; and miscellaneous other products. These core businesses supply Heinz products to a variety of consumers: Independent groceries, mass merchants, superstores, pharmacies, club stores, food service distributors and institutions like government agencies and schools.
Heinz faces competition from Kraft, Unilever, Sara Lee, Campbell Soup Company, ConAgra and Dole Foods. Heinz has successfully cornered the market with its flagship brand of ketchup and packaging innovations such as the E-Z Squirt bottle.
The processed food industry has outperformed the S&P 500 for the first and second quarter of 2003. Continual quality improvements and convenient packaging are key to driving this growth. Some emerging technologies that are helping Heinz maintain its market share are irradiation, oxygen scavengers, genetic engineering, and internet eBMS.
Technology is and will continue to make significant changes in the operations of food processors. Of primary importance to all companies is food safety, a topic recently endorsed by the media. A single food safety failure can have lasting implications on a company or industry. Introductory use of several technologies promises refinements in all types of food safety. The first general area is non-thermal processes. These include "high hydrostatic pressure, pulsed electric fields, oscillating magnetic fields, light pulses, irradiation, and the use of chemicals and bacteriocins as preservation aids." (Barbarosa-Canovas, Palou, Pothakamury, Swanson, 1998).