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Henry John Heinz: Purity in Food and Faith

Henry John Heinz

Henry John Heinz

The famous ketchup bottles with the number “57” also bear the name “Heinz.” The brand name is short for H.J. Heinz Company, founded by the man of the same name: Henry John Heinz. He was an exceptional businessman, who took it upon himself to offer consumers pure and organic foods, products that gained international recognition. Heinz built a company that would rise and last beyond a century.

Henry John Heinz was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on October 11, 1844. Even as a young boy, he would help his mother in the garden. Taking fresh vegetables to sell to households throughout the neighborhood, Heinz learned the same service that he would later refine, improve, and become famous for. He soon began to sell his own bottles of horseradish sauce.

When he graduated from Duff’s Mercantile College, Heinz had acquired a strong background in business. He helped his father as a bookkeeper in the brickyard business, and continued tending to his garden and selling its produce. Heinz partnered in two garden produce businesses, and in 1888, he bought sole ownership of the business that he named H.J. Heinz Company. Within ten years, the company had its famous slogan: “57 varieties.” Incorporating H.J. Heinz Company in 1905, Henry became the company’s president, a position he held until his death in 1919.

A key reason for the success of Henry Heinz’ business was his commitment to the good of other people. The motive of mass-producing Heinz ketchup was not just a way of making money, but was also to be a “blessed relief for mother and other women in the household.” Heinz also wanted foods to be as natural and organic as possible, not adulterated like what other companies were producing. He knew his quality products had value: “A wide market awaited the manufacturer of food products who set purity and quality above everything else in their preparation.” Emphasizing this quality, Heinz helped pass the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906, which created a high standard of purity in foods and paved the way for the Food and Drug Administration.

Heinz directly served the church as a leader in the World Sunday School Movement, but his services outside of the church in his business practice set Christian examples for how a business should be run. The Lord created the earth and everything in it. He designed how we should treat others, how we should work, and how we are to do business with others. Following Christ requires service, and Heinz served countless people by providing them with foods of higher quality.

Heinz also treated his employees well. Taking Christian principles and building them into his business, Heinz blessed those who worked for him, giving them regular breaks in a rooftop garden, a privilege uncommon in his day. Perhaps giving extra blessing cuts immediate profits, but a biblically repeated truth is that you reap what you sow. The success of H.J. Heinz Company is in itself a perfect example.. Henry Heinz strived to bring pure foods before his consumers and a pure self before his Lord.






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