A signature Pittsburgh company is making moves toward tech innovation.
Kraft Heinz, a company partially founded in Pittsburgh over a century ago, announced two key partnerships this month that position it to expand its use of artificial intelligence and data analytics.
Through a new partnership with Google, Kraft Heinz will advance what the company has called its digital transformation by using the tech giant’s AI tools, customer data platforms and Google Ads for new product innovation, better customer relationships and more effective marketing. Meanwhile, another partnership with food tech startup TheNotCompany will launch a joint venture to accelerate plant-based food development and production, based on tech and AI-driven solutions from the startup.
“Part of our company transformation is to focus on digital investments that drive organizational agility,” Kraft Heinz VP of Global Corporate Communications and Reputation Management Alex Abraham told Technical.ly in an email. “We’re partnering with leading tech companies to build end to end digital capabilities across the Kraft Heinz business.”
The Google partnership, he said, is a multi-year initiative from Kraft Heinz to leverage tech talent to improve its customer offerings, building new products that meet their needs more effectively and efficiently. The joint venture with TheNotCompany — which will operate as The Kraft Heinz Not Company — will focus more on building out a customer need that Kraft Heinz has already identified. “We’re leveraging the inherent strengths of both companies to be able to democratize plant-based foods with iconic brand names that people love and trust.” Abraham said of the new venture.
While these innovations will take place across several locations for the multinational corporation, they will undoubtedly create new needs for Kraft Heinz that could be met by Pittsburgh-based tech talent.
Kraft Heinz’s interest in tech through both of these partnerships is symbolic of the more established presence the industry has in Pittsburgh today. The fact that a company so representative of the city’s industrial past is now aligning itself with tech suggests once more that these innovations really could be the foundation for Pittsburgh’s future.
“Our partnership with Google is a critical element of our ongoing transformation and reflects the deeper focus we’re bringing to understanding and reaching our consumers in the moment,” said Sanjiv Gajiwala, North America chief growth officer for Kraft Heinz, in a statement. “Working with Google, we’re building world-class digital capabilities and proprietary, privacy-centric data systems that will help consumers connect with our iconic Kraft Heinz brands on a whole new level through personalized offers and interactions. At the same time, we also expect to fast-track our innovation agenda by tapping into Google-powered insights around trending food conversations, shopping behaviors, and consumer demands — this is the future of food.”
While these innovations will take place across several locations for the multinational corporation, they will undoubtedly create new needs for Kraft Heinz that could be met by Pittsburgh-based tech talent. Now operating on a hybrid work model, location will certainly matter less than before, but the company’s local headquarters could be a driver for those looking to experience a partial in-person work environment.
And tech hiring is definitely on the agenda, Abraham said. “We have increased our technical hiring and will continue to do so,” he wrote in an email. “We’re also training our staff on more agile ways of working.” However, he added that geographic details on where those roles are based have yet to be announced.
As for further building of the company’s digital transformation, there are likely more plans for Kraft Heinz to grow into the tech space. In a response to a question of other initiatives toward that agenda, Abraham simply wrote: “Stay tuned.”
Sophie Burkholder is a 2021-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Heinz Endowments.