Born in Pennsylvania in October 1844, H.J. Heinz first showed his business acumen as a child, selling vegetables and then bottled horseradish. In the 1870s, the enterprise that would become the H.J. Heinz Company was established. Renowned for his well-made products, Heinz condiments and relishes would end up being sold globally. Heinz died in Pittsburgh on May 14, 1919, at age 74.
Disheartened by the lack of customers at his second-floor booth at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, Heinz began giving a free pickle charm. Support beams had to be added to stop the floor from sagging under the weight of visitors. In 1896, Heinz came up with the slogan "57 Varieties”. Although the company had more than 57 products at the time, he liked the number 57 and began to use it in adverts.
By offering factory tours, Heinz was able to show the safety and cleanliness of his manufacturing process. The tours also allowed visitors to try his products. His considerate treatment of employees was also notable for the time. In addition to comfortable working conditions, he directed managers to listen to workers' concerns. During his time at the company, Heinz's workers never went on strike.
Although many food manufacturers opposed 1906's Pure Food and Drug Act, Heinz was a proponent of the measure. His advocacy for its passage boosted his sales as customers felt they were able to trust the safety of Heinz's manufactured foods. In 1905, the company was incorporated and Heinz became its president—a position that he would hold for the rest of his life.
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Two American entrepreneurs, Henry J Heinz and L Clarence Noble, set up Heinz & Noble. Their first product was Heinz’s 'pure and superior' grated horseradish, which was packaged in transparent glass to advertise its purity. The horseradish was grown on a garden patch which was given to Henry by his mother and father.
Henry sets up shop with two of his relations, launching F & J Heinz Company, with Henry as the head. In America, they released Heinz Tomato Ketchup followed by a launch in the UK in 1886.
Heinz sells his first products 'seven varieties of our finest and newest goods' to the Fortnum & Mason food store on Piccadilly, London.
Riding the subway in New York Henry spotted a poster for a shoe company advertising its 21 styles of shoe. He is said to have been intrigued by the ad and worked out the number of products that his company produced, eventually deciding on 57 - although there were in fact more. On that subway journey Heinz 57 Varieties was born.
Heinz Cream of Tomato Soup was imported into Great Britain.
Heinz is still exporting Baked Beans, Spaghetti and Tomato Ketchup to Great Britain from the US and Canada. When production grows to the UK, 10,000 tonnes are produced here in the first year.