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Unformatted text preview: Page 1 Proposed Merger Between Heinz and Beech-Nut Scrutinized The case is a condensed and slightly modified version of the public copy of the decision in FTC (Appellant) v. H.J. Heinz Co. and Milnot Holding Corporation that was argued on February 12, 2001 and decided April 27, 2001. No. 00-5362. OVERVIEW OF THE BABY FOOD MARKET Four million infants in the United States consume 80 million cases of jarred baby food annually, representing a domestic market of $865 million to $1 billion. The baby food market is dominated by three firms, Gerber Products Company (Gerber), Heinz and Beech-Nut. Gerber, the industry leader, enjoys a 65 percent market share while Heinz and Beech-Nut come in second and third, with a 17.4 percent and a 15.4 percent share respectively. Gerber enjoys unparalleled brand recognition with a brand loyalty greater than any other product sold in the United States. Gerber's products are found in over 90 percent of all American supermarkets. By contrast, Heinz is sold in approximately 40 percent of all supermarkets. Its sales are nationwide but concentrated in northern New England, the Southeast and Deep South and the Midwest. Despite its second-place domestic market share, Heinz is the largest producer of baby food in the world with $1 billion in sales worldwide. Its domestic baby food products with annual net sales of $103 million are manufactured at its Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania plant, which was updated in 1991 at a cost of $120 million. The plant operates at 40 percent of its production capacity and produces 12 million cases of baby food annually. Its baby food line includes about 130 SKUs (stock keeping units), that is, product varieties (e.g., strained carrots, apple sauce, etc.). Heinz lacks Gerber's brand recognition; it markets itself as a "value brand" with a shelf price several cents below Gerber's. Beech-Nut has a market share (15.4%) comparable to that of Heinz (17.4%), with $138.7 million in annual sales of baby food, of which 72 percent is jarred baby food. Its jarred baby food line consists of 128 SKUs. Beech-Nut manufactures all of its baby food in Canajoharie, New York at a manufacturing plant that was built in 1907 and began manufacturing baby food in 1931. Beech-Nut maintains price parity with Gerber, selling at about one penny less. It markets its product as a premium brand. Consumers generally view its product as comparable in quality to Gerber's. Beech-Nut is carried in approximately 45 percent of all grocery stores. Although its sales are nationwide, they are concentrated in New York, New Jersey, California and Florida. At the wholesale level Heinz and Beech-Nut both make lump-sum payments called "fixed trade spending" (also known as "slotting fees" or "pay-to-stay" arrangements) to grocery stores to obtain shelf placement. Gerber, with its strong name recognition and brand loyalty, does not make such pay-to-stay payments. The other type of wholesale trade spending is "variable trade spending," which typically consists of manufacturers' discounts...
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- Spring '08
- H. J. Heinz Company, Barriers to entry, Baby food, H.J. Heinz Company