Ethics and Compliance


Communication Guidelines

As a leading international food and nutrition company, H. J. Heinz Company has a responsibility to help consumers make informed and healthy choices about diet and lifestyles relative to their health, well-being and overall nutrition.


Heinz has established guidelines for all of its units and affiliates worldwide related to the marketing of its products, including the use of public relations campaigns, consumer education efforts and the purchase of advertising time and space during television or radio broadcasts, in newspapers, in-store promotions, magazines and periodicals or in other forms of electronic communications, including internet-based media.

These media offer direct communications either to large groups of consumers or to targeted segments of the population, including young children, teens and parents.

It is important that all of the Company's communications reflect Heinz's commitment to family-oriented values and its long-standing commitment to proper nutrition and consumer well-being. Heinz must convey these commitments through responsible advertising and messages which promote the healthful consumption of the Company's products.


Consumer education, communication, public relations, marketing and advertising are defined as any activity undertaken on behalf of any Company brands, products or businesses to communicate with consumers (of any age), customers, the media or other publics. This encompasses communications in the forms of: paid advertising (in any media, including but not limited to television, radio, newspapers, periodicals, billboards, or the internet), news releases, public service announcements, public relations campaigns, brochures, books, booklets, videos and films, Web sites, on-pack promotions, interactive software, sweepstakes and premiums.

1.0 General Principles

All communications must be honest, truthful and not misleading, conform to accepted principles of fair competition and good business practice, and be prepared with a sense of social responsibility.

All communications from Heinz to consumers should take into account the level of education, knowledge and maturity of the audience for which it is intended.

Recognizing that young children often have difficulty in understanding the difference between reality and imagination, care must be taken to communicate truthfully and in an accurate manner and in language understood by young children.

Products that are inappropriate for children should not be advertised or promoted to children.

Advertising, communications and marketing activities should showcase positive social behavior, such as friendship, kindness, honesty, justice, generosity, respect for others, exercise and eating in moderation.

Minorities and other groups should be included as positive role models. Social stereotyping must be avoided.

Parents remain the primary influence in child development. Any Heinz communications must contribute positively to the parent-child relationship.

Products should be shown used in safe environments and in safe situations.

2.0 Brand and Product Guidelines

Care must be taken to portray Heinz brands and products in ways that illustrate proper nutrition and healthy lifestyles. Following are guidelines to assist with developing appropriate messages:

  • When portraying eating occasions, the appropriate serving size should be utilized when showing what is being consumed or about to be consumed.
  • Menu or snack selections should be shown in the context of a balanced and healthful variety of foods; over-consumption of individual foods must not be encouraged.
  • Recipes utilizing Heinz products as ingredients should be healthful, with lower-calorie versions suggested where appropriate.
  • Healthful, active lifestyles— as opposed to sedentary activity— should be portrayed throughout product and brand communications.
  • Partners— either business partners or charitable organizations — should be ones who encourage healthy lifestyles and proper nutrition.
  • Communications materials should show diversity in size and shape of healthy consumers.
  • Advertisements representing mealtime experiences should depict the role of the product within a balanced diet.
  • The amount of food product shown should be within reasonable levels for the situation depicted.
  • Communications should not mislead as to the benefits of the product.
  • Co-promotions with alcoholic beverages should be limited to brands marketed solely to adults and to brands that do not contain the Heinz name.


3.0 Children and Youth Guidelines

Communications media should not be directed solely to preschool children.

Heinz brand names and trademarks should not be licensed on products marketed solely to preschool children, with the exception of infant feeding products or toddler foods.

Any in-school programs should be strictly educational, not commercial, and only of a public service nature. They should reinforce healthy lifestyles and healthy dietary behaviors, encourage knowledge of nutrition and cooking, and should complement the school curriculum.

Exclusive vending machine contracts with schools that require the promotion of Heinz brands or products should be avoided.

Portrayals or encouragement of behavior that is inappropriate to children (such as violence or sexuality) or that is frightening to children is to be avoided.

Creation of "clubs" should be done with care and should not be communicated in a way that leads children or youth to believe they are joining a "club" if the activity is limited to the purchase or the acquisition of a product or premium.

Sweepstakes, redemption programs and contests should not produce unrealistic expectations of chances of winning or inflated expectations for prizes or merchandise.

4.0 Television Advertising

Television commercials should not appear in any specific program or any episode of a program that is:

  • Blatantly violent
  • Immoral as to sexual content or drug abuse
  • Overly graphic in displays of brutality and suffering
  • Blatant in portraying anti-social behavior and drug abuse which stimulates imitation

Advertising agencies should be instructed to pre-screen any program or a single episode in a program series which, through prior knowledge of content or past performance, may not fit the Heinz advertising policy.

5.0 Endorsers and Editorial/Fictional Characters

An endorser should— directly or indirectly— possess qualifications or experiences related to the product or brand.

All product endorsers (real or fictional)— including live or animated characters— should display high moral standards and exhibit healthy lifestyles.

6.0 Interactive Media

Data collection on Web sites and in other interactive media should be done with clear disclosure.

Data collection, including personal information (such as screen names and e-mail addresses), from young children must always involve parental consent.

Interactive games or other Web sites that collect information on users in passive means (navigational tracking tools, browser files, etc.) should disclose this tracking activity.

Privacy policies are required on all Web sites for both adults and children.

7.0 Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of all Heinz marketing, public relations, advertising, communications, art, promotions and packaging departments worldwide to ensure that their programs and activities conform to these guidelines. Likewise, they are responsible for communicating the guidelines to all agencies, freelancers and other suppliers who may be developing or promulgating consumer education, communications, public relations, marketing or advertising materials or programs.

H. J. Heinz Company's Senior Vice President— Corporate and Government Affairs and Chief Administrative Officer is responsible for supervision and administration of these guidelines. The Vice President— Corporate Communications is responsible for monitoring and updating the guidelines.