Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Business
Pursuits

The King of McDonald's Ketchup Also Makes the Special Sauce

The King of McDonald's Ketchup Also Makes the Special Sauce
Photograph by Alastair Grant/AP Photo

You may have heard recently that McDonald’s is dropping Heinz—supposedly because the ketchup maker is now led by Bernardo Hees, who also happens to be vice chairman and the former chief executive officer at fast food rival Burger King. Despite worries that you’ll soon be drowning your fries in a replacement sauce that’s as bitter and watery as your tears, few American diners will be affected by the change. Apart from Pittsburgh and Minneapolis, the chain serves ketchup from other manufacturers, including Golden State Foods, a $6 billion food processor and distributor based in Irvine, Calif.

McDonald’s ditched Heinz in the U.S. after a tomato shortage created supply issues at the ketchup maker in the 1970s. In addition to the two American cities, the company has offered Heinz only in other countries. “Globally, Heinz represents a small percentage of McDonald’s condiment and sauce business,” says McDonald’s spokesman Lisa McComb.