- After 140 years in the ketchup business, H.J. Heinz Co. is introducing a new, albeit related, vertical in the retail space: mustard, a more than $400 million-a-year market. Heinz has previously sold its own mustard in ballparks, restaurants, and certain bulk retailers.
- Heinz's new retail-ready mustard recipe uses all-natural ingredients and stone-ground mustard seeds. This product release is the company's largest, thus far, under its latest owners, 3G Capital Partners LP and comes not long after announcing that Heinz would acquire Kraft.
- Not to be outdone, French's, the leading mustard maker in the U.S. with about one-third of the market share, is promoting a new retail ketchup that the company says doesn't contain preservatives or artificial flavors.
It's pretty clear: the condiments war is on.
But is the mustard industry the battlefield Heinz should be focusing on? Mustard sales in the U.S. dropped to $429.6 million last year from $445 million in 2010, while ketchup sales slightly increased 0.5% to $749 million after decreasing for two years. Heinz already has 60% of the market share for the ketchup industry, as its flagship ketchup is worth about $450 million, but the company seems to be hungry for more condiments to sandwich into its sales numbers.