Condiments don’t usually make the front page, but here’s some major fast-food chain news that’s sending shockwaves through the business world: After 40 years of serving Heinz ketchup at many of its locations, McDonald’s is cutting ties with the brand.
The reason? A good ol’ conflict of interest story: Former Burger King CEO Bernardo Hees has taken over as head of Heinz after it’s buy-out by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital. Furthermore, 3G Capital—a Brazilian investment firm—controls Burger King. For Mickey D’s, that’s a few too many rivals in bed with Heinz.
If you’re a McDonald’s fan in the U.S., the move is not as drastic as it might appear—domestically, most ketchup packets at the chain simply say “fancy ketchup” and ketchup dispensers are unbranded. Heinz is only used at McDonald’s in Pittsburgh (where Heinz is headquartered) and Minneapolis. The effect will be greater abroad, where the product is more ubiquitous.
Of course, this decision opens up a big business opportunity for other ketchup brands, like Hunt’s, to make a major deal with the fast-food giant.
This is why we’ve always said you should never go anywhere without a sack of Heinz ketchup packets, just in case.
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