US food manufacturer H. J. Heinz and Japanese ketchup and vegetable juice producer Kagome today [Monday] affirmed the strategic alliance they first announced in July 2001 but said they would delay investing in each other's businesses. Under the alliance, Heinz and Kagome are exploring ways to work together to improve their global operations and product portfolios to accelerate sales growth and reduce operating costs, the companies said in a statement to the press.