Staying ahead by meeting changing consumer needs
A Heinz case study

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Page 1: Introduction

Heinz 7 Image 2Consumers’ buying habits reflect their personality, income, age, lifestyle and aspirations. What people want to buy changes over the years. Many consumers constantly seek out new products that meet their changing needs more closely. This is particularly true whenever consumers pursue the pleasures of food.

To grow their business profitably, companies must constantly review their product portfolio. Marketeers and product developers must use their understanding of consumer behaviour to satisfy changing consumer needs. This is true even for industrial giants with brands that are household names. Heinz has a series of icon products that are brand leaders and with which the company is closely associated eg salad cream, baked beans, tomato ketchup. However, Heinz knows that it cannot afford to rely simply on the existing strength of these icon products, so the company has created an innovative culture focused upon consumer needs in order to encourage the development of new ideas.

This case study shows how the popularity of Heinz’ core icon products has been maintained and enhanced, by developing aspects of the product or brand, to keep them relevant and satisfying for modern consumers. It also covers innovations introduced by Heinz in order to stay ahead of the competition and bring new consumers to the Heinz brand.


Heinz began in the USA, with an American boy, barely one third of a hectare of land, and a horse and cart. Henry J Heinz was an industrious young lad who helped his father in his Pittsburgh brickyard. Grateful for his support, his parents gave him a small garden of his own when he was ten. He soon began to sell the vegetables he grew and by the age of 15 he took the first step into convenience foods. By bottling horseradish in clear glass jars Henry Heinz was clearly different to other manufacturers who bottled their goods in coloured glass jars to hide the cheap fillers used to add to the ingredients. This was the first move to meeting consumers’ needs and underpinning Heinz values of offering quality products.

Today, Heinz is one of the world’s major global companies operating in some 200 countries, offering more than 5,700 product varieties, with No 1 and No 2 branded businesses in more than 50 world-wide markets.

Heinz | Staying ahead by meeting changing consumer needs