Marketer to Put Money Behind Top Brands

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- H.J. Heinz Co., Pittsburgh, today said it plans to increase its marketing investment in fiscal 2002 by 9% to 10%, focusing on top brands including Heinz ketchup, Smart Ones frozen entrees and Ore-Ida.

According to a statement by William Johnson, Heinz's chairman, president and CEO, five mega brands drive almost 50% of the company's global sales, and that the company "will continue to invest in these ... to provide innovative food solutions to consumers around the world."

Although the food marketer announced a second-quarter sales increase of 11.7% to $2.57 billion, the increase came mainly from acquisitions, including Classico pasta sauces and TGIF frozen snacks.

Following a meeting today with Mr. Johnson, Wall Street analysts expressed doubt about Heinz's ability to grow net profits despite ongoing restructuring efforts.

Credit Suisse First Boston analyst Dave Nelson said in a note that while Heinz highlighted the need to improve execution in their programs, "after little to no progress for several years, depth of management and infrastructure remain in question."

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