HJ Heinz has indicated that it intends to increase the focus of its product portfolio by cutting less popular brands.

Over the next few years, the US ketchup giant aims to reduce its number of SKUs by a further 15-20%, Michael Mullen, vice president of corporate & government affairs, told just-food.

For each new product launched, Heinz removes two products from circulation, Mullen said.

"This helps us maintain a tightly focused business. [It is a] great opportunity to drive complexity out of our business while focusing on consumer driven innovation," Mullen revealed.

A number of food industry majors are taking similar action in a bid to boost margins in the face of the global economic downturn. Both Kraft Foods and Sara Lee confirmed to just-food yesterday (17 February) that they are simplifying their product offerings by culling underperforming lines.