Some would say that it is an imposition to ask a baked beans brand its age, let alone reveal it for them – but something tells us this one won’t mind. Prepare to wish a very happy 150th birthday to Heinz, who this February have some very special celebrations planned indeed. Many of them, in fact, involve yours truly.
But before we all put on our party hats, let us first cast our minds back to the black-and-white times of 1886, when Heinz was a whippersnapper and Fortnum’s, at the age of 179, entering something of an adolescence. Since the middle of the century, we had been the leading provider in tinned goods, which made us the obvious first stop for a young entrepreneur by the name of Henry J Heinz who had lugged five suitcases full of samples all the way from the USA to our Piccadilly doorstep. It is steeped in Fortnum’s lore that upon understanding this strange white bean in tomato sauce, the then-head of grocery uttered the words ‘I think, Mr Heinz, we’ll take the lot.'
The mighty baked bean went on to become a cupboard staple of everyone from students to families across the country – in fact, inspiring such fervour throughout the years that a man legally changed his name to ‘Captain Beany’ and tattooed the likeness of some 60 baked beans on his head.
As part of its big bonanza birthday celebrations, Heinz is coming back to its first home in the UK. We’re thrilled to be hosting a special ‘ValenHeinz’ Champagne Breakfast in our Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon for the world-first debut the exclusive-and-extremely-limited-edition Heinz Tomato Ketchup Caviar.
Heinz has also partnered with us to create limited edition Fortnum & Mason labels in our famous Eau de Nil colour, including their classic Ketchup, Cream of Tomato Soup and Baked Beanz. And as it was in 1886 – they are exclusively available at Fortnum’s.