Ten year ago Kraft and Heinz getting together would have been a huge story. Now, even though they’re finally doing it in a deal valued at up to $100bn, it looks like two dinosaurs huddling together for warmth.
Heinz, now controlled by Brazilian investors 3G (who also own Burger King, among others) and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, is a two product operation: baked beans and ketchup.
Kraft is a collection of low growth, processed food products with an uncertain future. Since it split into Kraft and Mondelez three years ago – with the more enticing brands like Cadbury going to Mondelez – it’s looked like a trip up a well-known creek without a paddle. It’s not difficult to make ‘Mac & Cheese’ on your own, after all.
No doubt the shareholders involved will make a turn on the deal even if a lot of staff will lose their jobs. Maybe because a lot of staff will lose their jobs. But this is part of a process in which the old-style branded food companies are becoming irrelevant in a world dominated by big online and offline retailers and the desire from well-off consumers to eat fresh.
It’s the end of an era in marketing. The Mad Men era perhaps.