The first product was horseradish, and the glass of its bottle was clear. There was a reason: while competitors extended their horseradish with fillers, concealed from view in green glass jars, Founder Henry John Heinz took his stand on quality and proudly displayed his product in transparent bottles. Dr. O’Reilly became president and CEO in 1979, launching an era in which Heinz became a leader in the nutrition and wellness revolution.
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He created major company production bases in Spain, Portugal and New Zealand and penetrated such challenging markets as South Africa, Russia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, South Korea, China, India, Egypt, Botswana and Zimbabwe. William R. Johnson took the helm as President in 1996, CEO in 1998 and Chairman in 2000. He continues Heinz`s international growth strategy by acquiring new companies in the Netherlands, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore and Costa Rica. He launched growth and reorganization plans to focus on Meal Enhancers and Meals ; Snacks.
The historic transaction with Del Monte Foods is designed to make Heinz a more focused company able to invest more effectively in its strongest brands. H. J. Heinz Company today is an enterprise with over 110 major locations worldwide, with leading brands on six continents. Heinz brand names — such as Ore-Ida, Smart Ones, Bagel Bites, Plasmon, Wattie’s, San Marco, Farley’s, Bio Dieterba, John West, Petit Navire, Greenseas, Classico, Wyler’s, UFC, Orlando, ABC, Honig, Hak, DeRuijter and Pudliski — appear on thousands of different products worldwide.