After closing its Ontario processing facility in 2014, Heinz will soon make ketchup in Canada once again.
U.S. food conglomerate Kraft Heinz Co. announced in a news release Tuesday that starting next summer, it will produce 45 million kilograms of ketchup every year at a facility in Montreal.
The ketchup will be bound for consumption in Canada and will create about 30 jobs at the Mont Royal facility in Montreal.
The company said the plan will mean an investment of $17 million, part of which is being financed by a $2 million forgivable loan from the government of Quebec’s business expansion program.
Heinz ketchup sold in Canada used to be made at a processing facility in Leamington, Ont., southeast of Windsor, but the company divested the factory in 2014. That resulted in a consumer boycott of the iconic product and created an unexpected boom for rival French’s.
The Globe and Mail first reported Tuesday that the ingredients for the Canadian-made ketchup, including the tomatoes, will be sourced from the United States to start, but the company hopes to move to a Canadian supply chain as soon as is feasible.
Canadians ‘very loyal’
UnMarketing CEO Scott Stratten said that will be key to how the decision is viewed by consumers.
“If they are coming back to Canada, I want to make sure they are all in,” he said in an interview.
Stratten said the company’s decision to leave Leamington in the first place was a misstep, as it inadvertently tapped into Canadians’ dormant sense of patriotism.
“People think Canadians are passive or pushovers, but Canadians are very loyal versus patriotic.… We are just not all caps yelling about it until something happens.”
That miscalculation cost Kraft Heinz.
“It was a huge boost for French’s,” he said. “It’s really hard to get that boost back when you’ve given it to another brand.”