Kraft Heinz says production of its iconic ketchup to move to Montreal
Heinz Ketchup is coming back to Canada, six years after production of the iconic condiment moved to the United States and the great Canadian “ketchup war” was set in motion.
Kraft Heinz said Tuesday it will begin making its famous ketchup at its Montreal factory next summer.
The decision follows a joint investment between its Canadian subsidiary and the Quebec government, which will see $17 million invested in the company’s Mont Royal facility.
The project, which includes a $2 million forgivable loan from the province through its business expansion program, is expected to create 30 new jobs and help maintain about 750 existing positions at the plant.
Yet the announcement could be seen as the latest salvo in the so-called ketchup wars.
The conflict, perhaps heretofore considered relegated to the annals of retail history, broke out shortly after Heinz sold its Leamington, Ont., plant to Highbury Canco Corp. in 2014 and moved production to Fremont, Ohio.
Rival ketchup maker French’s Food Co. began purchasing tomatoes from Highbury Canco and promoted its use of Canadian-grown ingredients, tugging at the hearts of patriotic consumers and food security advocates.
When Loblaw Companies Ltd. said in 2016 it was pulling French’s from its store shelves, the community of Leamington shot back with one of the greatest public relations weapons of all time — a social media post.
“Loblaw decided to delist French’s ketchup to support Kraft Heinz and their own brand of President Choice’s ketchup,” said Sylvain Charlebois, a professor of food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University.
“Within an hour or two there was a huge social media campaign to support Leamington. It was very successful because Loblaw changed its mind and relisted French’s.”