Heinz criticises supermarket giants for creating ‘hostile’ supplier environment

Global food manufacturer HJ Heinz has publicly criticised two leading Australian supermarket giants for nurturing a ‘hostile’ environment for suppliers at a briefing to US analysts.

HJ Heinz chief financial officer and executive vice-president, Arthur Winkleblack told US analysts that the erosion Australia’s supermarket sector was a result of its two lead players. 

Winkleblack said that with two key customers in the Australia market, it has become an inhospitable environment for grocery manufacturers.

While the company did not name the two companies in its investor briefing, the comments were reportedly directed at Australia’s two supermarket leaders Coles and Woolworths.

Winkleblack said HJ Heinz will take measures to address the market dominance of the two major players as the food manufacturer has seen its margin “squeezed” as the pressure increases.

The comment is the latest in a string of clashes between local food manufacturers, and grocery retailers Coles and Woolworths, over its market dominance in Australian food market.