Ketchup and baked bean giant H J Heinz has agreed with natural and organic food and personal care products company The Hain Celestial Group, to explore the sale of approximately 6.1m shares that it owns in Hain Celestial.

The move is in keeping with Heinz's growth strategy announced earlier this year to focus on its three core categories and to explore the divestiture of non-core businesses around the world, Heinz said.

"Heinz has for six years enjoyed our relationship with Hain Celestial as it has grown in the natural foods and personal care sectors," the company said. "We are now redeploying our assets and concentrating on driving growth and shareholder value in the three core categories of condiments and sauces, meals and snacks and infant nutrition where we have leading brands and world-class capabilities."