Henry Heinz and Brand Creation in the Late Nineteenth Century: Making Markets for Processed Food

This article assesses the brand-building strategies of Henry Heinz. Heinz began selling bottled horseradish to Pittsburgh residents in 1869. When he died in 1919, his company, H.J. Heinz, was one of the largest food processors in the world. Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., and other scholars have pointed to Heinz's ability to make use of supply-side innovations such as improved transportation and continuous canning technology. But Heinz also paid attention to economic and social changes that were altering the demand side of the economy. Between 1860 and 1920, rising incomes, population growth, and urbanization helped shape the wants and needs of consumers. Heinz understood that shifting household priorities represented an important strategic opportunity. Acting on input from consumers and his own intuitions about the demand side, he created quality products and a meaningful brand. The entrepreneur also invested in a range of organizational capabilities that would support his products and corporate identity. Heinz's success in manufacturing, branding, and distributing condiments and other foods, many of which had previously been prepared at home, helped create a mass market for additional foodstuffs and eventually other consumer products.