21 January 2018

SABBATH - Henry John Heinz, A Story of Faith, Vision and Horseradish

His Mom Talked Him Out of Preaching, But His Life Spoke Volumes to The World

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Henry John Heinz 1844-1919
Henry John Heinz was a nineteenth century Christian businessman who founded the Heinz company. Heinz based his business on Christian principles and proclaimed that his success was a direct result of his faith in God. 

H. J. Heinz Company was incorporated in 1905, and Heinz served as its president until he died in 1919. Under his tutelage, the company was noted for the fair treatment of workers and for pioneering safe sanitary food preparation.  He provided his employees with free medical care; Recreation facilities such as gyms, swimming pools, and gardens; and, Educational opportunities such as libraries, free concerts, and lectures.

Heinz was active in raising the standards for national food safety at a time when protection was limited to a hodgepodge of municipal regulations, if any. He led a successful lobbying effort which created the federally enforced, Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906. During World War I, he worked with the Food Administration to secure safe rations for the troops and others impacted by the war and war effort. 

The journey to create the H. J. Heinz Company was fraught with early challenges. Heinz began packing foodstuffs on a small scale at Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania, in 1869. His first product was pickled 'horseradish' using his Mother's recipe and the famous white roots he grew on a small plot near his home.

The success of this home based venture led him to create Heinz Noble and Company with a friend, L. Clarence Noble. The company succeeded in commercializing the packing of horseradish but ran into trouble and finally went bankrupt in 1875.

Heinz was undeterred from his vision to create safe food products. With a promise to repay creditors, he founded F and J Heinz, with his brother John Heinz and a cousin Frederick Heinz. This company also produced tomato ketchup, a product that lead the market and allowed them to grow rapidly. Expanding in North America and internationally, the company succeeded so that Heinz was able to  buy out his partners in 1888. The company continued to create products that would support a rapidly growing industrialized population around the world.

By 1896, the company was selling more than 60 different products. The slogan, "57 varieties," was introduced by Heinz and became the trademark attached to retailers who stocked Heinz products all over the world. The success Heinz experienced is often attributed to his early recognition of a globalizing economy and his passion for people (customers and employees).

Henry John Heinz was born in Pittsburgh, the son of German immigrants John Henry Heinz (1811–1891), of Kallstadt, Palatinate, Kingdom of Bavaria, and Anna Margaretha Schmidt (1822–1899), of Kruspis, Haunetal, Hesse-Kassel. His father John was a member of the Lutheran Church and his mother Anna Schmidt was the daughter of a Lutheran minister. Perhaps her life as a minister's daughter was the reason she talked Henry out of his desire to become a preacher.

Though not a preacher, Heinz was a man of great faith. He was committed throughout his life to bringing out the best in people. This need to help people and make their lives better was for Heinz, the evidence of a faith based life. Although raised as a Lutheran, Heinz also worshipped as a Methodist, as a Presbyterian and was known for working closely with Baptists on various projects. In public life, Heinz was a noted director of financial institutions and lead the Ways and Means Committee to protect Pittsburgh from floods.

On business trips to England, Heinz would stop by the graves of those he admired in the faith. Leaders like John Bunyan, Isaac Watts and John Wesley were revered by him. Upon visiting the chapel Wesley founded, Heinz noted he had been on "holy ground." The first paragraph of his last Will and Testament reads, "I desire to set forth, at the very beginning of this Will, as the most important item in it, a confession of my faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior."

H J Heinz Bronze by Emil Fuchs, October 1924
Heinz contracted pneumonia and died at his home on May 14th, 1919. His funeral was at East Liberty Presbyterian Church. He was buried at Homewood Cemetery, Pittsburgh, in the Heinz Family Mausoleum. At the time of his death, the company had more than 6,000 employees and 25 factories. It also owned seed farms, container factories and other elements of the Heinz value chain.

On February 14, 2013, H J Heinz Company agreed to be purchased by Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital for $23 billion. On March 25, 2015, Kraft announced a merger with Heinz, arranged by Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital. The resulting Kraft Heinz Company is the fifth largest food company in the world.

Additional Information:

Scientific American


YouTube, Heinz Delivery Wagons

YouTube, Heinz in 2 Minutes

YouTube, Heinz goes to Britain

YouTube, When life hands you Tomatoes

YouTube, Warren Buffet on Buying Heinz

On this Sabbath day, InfoStream hopes the Henry John Heinz story of faith, vision and horseradish will encourage you. May your life be filled with Abundant Joy.

God bless!

About Executive Producer, Larry R. Evans:
Larry Evans is an experienced innovator and strategist. He is Principal of The Paradigm Corporation, which is headquartered at Thunder Ridge just outside Crossfield, Alberta, Canada. He is known for bringing a unique and predictive lens to paradigm shifts during a career that spans 45 years. Now often from his wheelchair, he brings a grounded, tenacious view of brand, ecosystems and trusted relationships for the digital age. His perspective and values influence his life, business and ministry.


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