FEATURE12 February 2014

Still full of beanz

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How does a 150-year-old company stay relevant? Lucy Fisher asks Colin Haddley, director of strategy, insight and capability at Heinz.


Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway company and private equity firm 3G bought Heinz in deal reported to be worth $28bn (£18bn) earlier this year, in the biggest takeover the food industry has ever seen. The billionaire, arguably the world’s most famous investor, praised the company’s record of “continuous innovation” and admitted to having kept a file on the company as far back as 1980.

It is certainly true that the soups, sauces and baked beans empire has an enviable reputation to uphold. Marketing Week described the deal as a “triumph for marketing”, claiming that the global food giant’s continued success illustrates how effective brand-building can transform a company’s bottom line.

But Colin Haddley, director of strategy, insight and capability at Heinz UK and Ireland – a scientist by training – is quick to point out that creativity needs process behind it, especially in a huge company like Heinz. Innovation doesn’t just happen, he points out: “Generating great ideas is essential ...