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Kraft Heinz Canada exec talks new Toronto office, company transformation

Cindy Thomas, head of people and performance – Canada, North America Coffee and North America R&D, discusses the company's new HQ and more
kraft heinz toronto

Kraft Heinz Canada recently moved its corporate headquarters from the north Toronto space it occupied for 40 years to a new waterfront home in the Queen’s Quay terminal. The company describes the move as part of its “ongoing transformation.” 

Canadian Grocer recently spoke with Cindy Thomas, head of people and performance – Canada, North America Coffee and North America R&D, about the move, what it portends for the company, and how it will impact its overall business (responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity).

Can you tell me a little bit about the ongoing transformation within Kraft Heinz. Why was it necessary, and what does it look like?

Kraft Heinz is a company in the midst of transformation, on a journey to lead the future of food.Our ambition is to be great – for first and foremost our people, and also our consumers, customers and shareholders.

We’re transforming in so many ways, including: Reengineering the company through our Agile@Scale strategy; expanding and strengthening our capabilities through partnerships and joint ventures; renovating and innovating our iconic brands; investing in great people; focusing on being a good corporate citizen (ESG). 

We’re not the same company we were even three years ago, and the exciting thing is, we’re just getting started

Can you talk about the decision to invest in a brick-and-mortar location in the new hybrid working environment that has emerged post-pandemic.

Where we work has forever changed. This also means how we work has forever changed. At Kraft Heinz, we have committed globally to a hybrid working model for our office-based employees – in the office three days a week, with flexibility for the remaining days. 

We view our offices as collaboration spaces that we can leverage to foster communication, build community and strengthen connection amongst all our teams. Our people work across local Canadian, North American and global teams, and as we come together to lead the future of food, our office is designed to catapult us forward and help us be even more agile, innovative, and collaborative. 

READ: Randstad Sourceright’s Veronica Frisch on what it takes to win the war on talent

The new Canadian headquarters features over 600 unique work, meeting, collaboration, breakout, focus and enclave spaces with technology optimized to make the experience between in-person and hybrid meetings seamless and collaborative, regardless of where attendees are located.

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kraft heinz toronto office

Are you doing anything new with the headquarters that could play a role in attracting/retaining employees, boosting employee satisfaction, etc.

Our Canadian headquarters at Queen’s Quay Terminal marks a new chapter for Kraft Heinz in Canada. We recognize the needs and habits of our employees have evolved and will continue to evolve and we need a workplace that can keep pace with these changes. 

These include being in the core of downtown, [which] increases access to main transit hubs in Toronto, allowing us to attract top talent from across the greater Toronto area, and provides an environment of constant inspiration, especially around food culture as we continue to evolve with the changing Canadian consumer.

Our on-site state-of-the-art culinary center of excellence [is designed] to develop and test new products, recipes and social content, while building a venue to collaborate with retail and foodservice customers and colleagues worldwide.

Can you talk specifically about the new culinary centre? What role will it play for the company in building/transforming culture? Will it inform anything you do from a consumer-facing perspective? (could it fill a test-and-learn role, for example?)

[It] will feature spaces for our “away from home” (aka foodservice) and retail culinary teams to develop, test and taste our products with colleagues and customers. We’re on a journey to lead the future of food, with innovation as our single biggest driver of growth. Featuring modern technology and appliances, the culinary center has been optimized for agility, connectivity and collaboration, supporting our ambitions to bring consumer-centric products and innovations to market faster than ever before.

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