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Kraft Heinz ups bet on big brands ahead of Q4'17 earnings

Kraft Heinz Intermediate Corp. II is doubling down on its largest brands in an effort to grow sales after revenue missed analyst expectations in recent quarters.

The Pittsburgh-based company said in a Feb. 15 presentation that it plans to expand the presence of its Heinz, Kraft and Planters brands over the next three to five years. In that time, Kraft Heinz is aiming to have at least two of the three brands present in 80% of the countries where the company operates.

In 2016, two or more of the three brands were present in 10% of the countries where Kraft Heinz operates, according to the presentation.

The company also plans to expand sales in its global food service business to $5 billion over the next three to five years, up from the current $3.5 billion total.

Between 2015 and the end of 2017, Kraft Heinz cut about $1.7 billion in costs, above the company's expectation of $1.5 billion, according to the presentation.

Kraft Heinz's goals come as consumers — and some retailers, such as Amazon.com Inc. — turn toward private-label food products and away from major brands. At the same time, revenue at many major food producers that rely on big brands has missed analyst expectations in recent quarters.

For each of the first three quarters of its 2017 fiscal year, Kraft Heinz has posted sales below analyst projections, according to S&P Capital IQ. The company is scheduled to report fiscal fourth-quarter earnings before the U.S. market opens Feb. 16.