Ketchup change-up: New Heinz CEO prompts McDonald's to switch

A car moves through a McDonald's drive through window line, in Springfield, Illinois, in this Oct 17, 2011 photo. McDonald's said in a statement Oct 25, 2013, that it is cutting ties with condiment company Heinz after 40 years due to management chang
A car moves through a McDonald's drive through window line, in Springfield, Illinois, in this Oct 17, 2011 photo. McDonald's said in a statement Oct 25, 2013, that it is cutting ties with condiment company Heinz after 40 years due to management changes there. A former Burger King chief executive became head of Heinz in June after the company was bought by Mr Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital. 3G, a Brazilian investment firm, also controls Burger King. -- FILE PHOTO: AP

(REUTERS) - World's biggest fast-food chain seeks new ketchup for its famous french fries.

McDonald's Corp on Friday said it plans to end its 40-year relationship with ketchup maker HJ Heinz Co, since that company is now led by Mr Bernardo Hees, the former chief executive of hamburger rival Burger King Worldwide Inc.

"As a result of recent management changes at Heinz, we have decided to transition our business to other suppliers over time," McDonald's said in a statement.

"We have spoken to Heinz and plan to work together to ensure a smooth and orderly transition," said McDonald's, which has more than 34,000 restaurants around the globe.

A spokesman for Heinz did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The switch will be more apparent overseas than in the United States, since McDonald's only serves Heinz ketchup in two domestic markets - Pittsburgh and Minneapolis, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on Friday.

The move from McDonald's could benefit Heinz ketchup rivals Hunt's, owned by ConAgra Foods Inc, and Del Monte.

Mr Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and an investment fund affiliated with 3G Capital bought Heinz for $28 billion (S$35 billion) in June and immediately named Mr Hees chief executive.

Burger King went public in June 2012, less than two years after it was taken private by 3G Capital Management LLC, which retains a stake in the fast-food chain.