Kraft Heinz mulls ‘new game plans’ to boost market share, overcome supply chain challenges

The company proudly touted during its fourth quarter earnings call a 2% increase in household penetration and 5% increase in repeat momentum of its brands in the US, with even better results among products within its taste elevation program (up 4% and 9% respectively) and easy meals made better (up 5% and 10%).

Some of these gains can be attributed to increased at-home consumption during the pandemic, but Kraft Heinz North American president Carlos Abrams-Rivera said credit also should go to the company’s efforts and investments to “energize our brands [to] give them greater relevance, greater awareness and greater resiliency.”

While those efforts are paying off, Abrams-Rivera acknowledged his disappointment in the US business’ share performance, which he described during the company’s fourth quarter earnings call Feb. 16 as “not where it needs to be.”

He explained that “while we saw strong share performance in iconic brands such as Heinz Ketchup, Kraft Singles, Velveeta, Mio and Capri Sun, we lost share in other parts of the portfolio,”​ which is “bad news.”

However, he added, “the good news is we know what needs to be fixed, and how to go about fixing it.”

Three main barriers to better market share performance

He explained that “from a root-cause perspective”​ some factors that held back the company’s potential were out of its control, such as one-time supply and other challenges that led to 40% of its share loss. This included an ill-timed shortage in the fourth quarter of Philadelphia cream cheese, a pivotal ingredient in many traditional holiday appetizers and desserts, due in part to packaging material shortages and struggles to meet heightened demand as many consumers planned gatherings for the first time in two years, Abrams-Rivera said. In addition, he noted, Oscar Mayer Bacon market share also suffered due to labor challenges.


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