Heinz production returning to Pittsburgh, with baby food
September 17, 2014 12:00 AM
An animated neon Heinz ketchup bottle sign hangs atop the Senator John Heinz History Center in the Strip District.
By Teresa F. Lindeman / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
H.J. Heinz Co. product is being made in Pittsburgh again.
The Pittsburgh food company confirmed this week that it has arranged with Bay Valley Foods, which is part of Illinois-based TreeHouse Foods, to have baby food made on the North Side under the Heinz name.
“Heinz is pleased to announce that Bay Valley Foods will produce Heinz jarred baby food at its Pittsburgh facility on the North Side,” said Michael Mullen, senior vice president of corporate and government affairs, in response to an inquiry.
“Production is scheduled to start this week and products will be made available to Heinz consumers in Canada. The company is thrilled that this partnership will once again bring production of Heinz foods to our company’s hometown of Pittsburgh.”
Heinz was founded in Sharpsburg more than a century ago and made products ranging from pickles to soup to ketchup here for decades. Now an international food company, the company sold the North Side plant to Del Monte Foods as part of a 2002 sale of its StarKist tuna, pet foods, U.S. baby food and private label soup operations.
Since then, Heinz has not had manufacturing operations in the Pittsburgh area.
A few years after picking up the Heinz lines, Del Monte sold the baby food and soup business — along with the North Side plant — to TreeHouse Foods. Among other things, private label soup is now made at the site.
Heinz itself was sold last year to a joint venture of Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital. Under the new management, some plants in the U.S. and Canada have been closed, and work shifted to other sites in an effort to cut costs and be more efficient.
In addition to its signature ketchup, Heinz brands include Ore-Ida and Smart Ones in the U.S. The company also has a significant infant food business globally — selling products in places such as China, Italy and Canada — although it does not sell baby food in the U.S.
The production coming to Pittsburgh had been handled at the Heinz plant in Leamington, Ontario. Heinz sold that plant earlier this year to a Canadian co-packer that is expected to make some products for the Pittsburgh company.
Mr. Mullen said only jarred baby food products will be made here. “Many Heinz baby food varieties will continue to be made in Canada, including fruit varieties sold in plastic tubs and pouches, Heinz Infant Cereals, and Heinz Little Kids snack items.”
Teresa F. Lindeman: firstname.lastname@example.org or at 412-263-2018.
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