Ketchup changeup: New Heinz CEO prompts McDonald's to switch

Reuters

By Lisa Baertlein

Oct 25 (Reuters) - World's biggest fast-food chain seeks newketchup for its famous french fries.

McDonald's Corp on Friday said it plans to end its40-year relationship with ketchup maker H.J. Heinz Co, sincethat company is now led by Bernardo Hees, the former chiefexecutive of hamburger rival Burger King Worldwide Inc.

"As a result of recent management changes at Heinz, we havedecided to transition our business to other suppliers overtime," McDonald's said in a statement.

"We have spoken to Heinz and plan to work together to ensurea smooth and orderly transition," said McDonald's, which hasmore than 34,000 restaurants around the globe.

A spokesman for Heinz did not immediately respond torequests for comment.

The switch will be more apparent overseas than in the UnitedStates, since McDonald's only serves Heinz ketchup in twodomestic markets - Pittsburgh and Minneapolis, the PittsburghPost-Gazette reported on Friday.

The move from McDonald's could benefit Heinz ketchup rivalsHunt's, owned by ConAgra Foods Inc, and Del Monte.

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and an investment fundaffiliated with 3G Capital bought Heinz for $28 billion in Juneand immediately named Hees CEO.

Burger King went public in June 2012, less than two yearsafter it was taken private by 3G Capital Management LLC, whichretains a stake in the fast-food chain.

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