Speaking at the firm’s AGM yesterday, chief executive William Johnson said emerging markets were “key to unlocking future growth because their economies are growing at a significantly higher rate than developed markets”.
The middle-classes in China, India, Indonesia, Latin America and Russia - where Heinz already had strong brands, local marketing expertise and an established infrastructure - would “eventually outnumber the combined populations of the US and Europe”, he predicted.
“Emerging markets are on track to deliver at least 20% of our total sales by 2013, more than double their contribution of just five years ago.”
Heinz was also exploring bolt-on acquisitions in the Philippines, Turkey, Vietnam and Brazil, while its “robust innovation pipeline” would also drive growth in mature markets such as the US, where Heinz was preparing to launch Dip and Squeeze, pots of sauce enabling punters to either peel off the lid (for dipping) or tear off the tip (for squeezing), he said.
The firm, which posted a rise of “almost 10%” in operating profit on (organic) sales up 3% in the quarter to July 28, is predicting full-year operating profit growth of 7-10% and sales growth of 3-4%.
More detailed figures will be published this afternoon.