McDonald's is dropping Heinz as its ketchup supplier due to the advent of a new chief executive officer at H.J. Heinz Co. Bernardo Hees, the new CEO at Heinz, was formerly the chief executive for one of McDonald's biggest competitors: Burger King.
“As a result of recent management changes at Heinz, we have decided to transition our business to other suppliers over time,” McDonald's said in a statement.
The decision will mostly effect Heinz' international markets, since its ketchup was served at McDonald's in only two US markets: Pittsburgh - where Heinz is headquartered - and Minneapolis.
Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital Management purchased Heinz for $28 billion earlier this year. Hees was named CEO shortly after the acquisition. He remains Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Burger King Worldwide Inc.
Heinz has refused to comment directly on McDonald's decision to phase their ketchup product out of its empire, which includes a total of 34,000 restaurants world-wide.
Michael Mullen, senior vice president of corporate and government affairs at Heinz had this to say: "All our food-service customers globally remain valuable to the company and are an important part of what has made the H.J. Heinz Co. what it is today. We continue to operate respecting every customer while upholding the high level of confidentiality and business ethics that the H.J. Heinz Co. has built with our business partners over the years."
The two companies have had a rocky relationship in the past. In the early 1970s, Heinz couldn't meet McDonald's demand for ketchup due to a tomato shortage, and the chain took much of its business elsewhere. Since then, Heinz has worked hard to regain ground with the fast food heavyweight.
Pittsburgh residents aren't happy about the McDonald's announcement:
— Allan Bourdius (@allanbourdius) October 25, 2013
— Maria Macaluso (@missmariamac) October 25, 2013
— Jim Amato (@JimAmato01) October 25, 2013
Image via Wikimedia Commons