Kraft Heinz CEO Says There Are No Shortages In Sight

(Bloomberg) -- Despite the seismic changes happening in the food industry during the coronavirus outbreak, the Kraft Heinz Co. was prepared and is making plenty of products, says Chief Executive Officer Miguel Patricio.

“We are working day and night to be agile and adapt to a new reality,” Patricio said in an interview. There are no shortages in sight, he said, partly because demand on the food service side of the business has dropped sharply. The company has added shifts to plants to keep them running 24 hours a day.

Kraft Heinz saw early on during the outbreak in China that it would need to diversify its suppliers, Patricio said, and it was well prepared when the availability of raw materials became a looming question. The company normally imports 180 items from China, and had to find substitutes for each. For example, apple juice used in Capri Sun now can come from Chile or Costa Rica.

Labor haven’t been an issue either. “We are working with the lowest level of absenteeism,” Patricio said. He was surprised to see that, he said, but his workers are proud to be part of the response to the national crisis: “They are on the front lines. They are heroes right now.”

While shoppers are stocking up on the packaged food giant’s cold cuts, frozen foods and macaroni and cheese, the company has found that it also had a surprise bestseller, thanks to sold-out stocks of Clorox and other disinfectants.

“We are selling Heinz vinegar like we never sold before,” Patricio said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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