Heinz CEO talks carbs

Filed under: Business — Tags: — @ October 10, 2004

William Johnson, the chairman and chief executive of Heinz, recently discussed the low-carb phenomenon with the New York Times. Following are excerpts from the interview:

Q. Interstate Bakeries, Krispy Kreme and others have been blaming changing consumer preference for low carbs for cutting into revenue and bringing down earnings. Do you think that’s a legitimate claim? Have consumer tastes changed that much that quickly?

A. I don’t think consumer tastes have necessarily changed. We’ve been selling ketchup for over 100 years. People like it as much if not more today as they did 100 years ago. I think, particularly on the low-carb craze, we pretty much predicted almost a year ago that this would be a temporary phenomenon and that it would peak pretty quickly. So we addressed it as a tactical issue and not as a strategic issue.

Q. Do you think there’s any merit to the claims that the low-carb craze could significantly affect some companies’ revenues?

A. Well, I think there’s certainly been a short-term impact, but I think the low-carb phenomenon speaks to the bigger issue, which is health and wellness and nutrition. Our view is this is just one edge of the leading trend, which is really health and wellness and nutrition.

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