Happy 100th Birthday Hellmann's!
This year Hellmann’s celebrates 100 years of bringing great tasting condiments to the dinner tables and picnic blankets of families around the world.
New recipes for an old favourite
To celebrate the brand’s 100th anniversary, Hellmann’s in the US enlisted chef Mario Batali to come up with new twists on old recipes.
He searched through ten decades of recipes, eventually choosing 30 for Hellmann’s Facebook page. Half of these are modern spins on classics and half are completely new recipes.
His favourites are chipotle devilled eggs and a dressing for grilled corn on the cob. However, over its long history Hellmann’s has been used to transform many a dinnertime dish.
Building an iconic brand
The story started in 1905 when German immigrant Richard Hellmann opened a delicatessen in New York City that sold salads made using his wife’s recipe for mayonnaise. The condiment quickly became so popular that Hellmann began selling it in bulk to other stores.
Originally, two versions of the recipe were made and, to distinguish between them, Hellmann put a blue ribbon around one. The ‘ribboned’ version was so highly sought after that in 1912, he designed what is known today as the iconic Blue Ribbon label.
But that’s where it could have all ended. Richard Hellmann almost sailed on the ill-fated Titanic. Fortunately for future sandwich lovers everywhere, he changed his mind at the last minute and made alternative plans.
Success leads to expansion
In 1913, Hellmann added his first ‘store to door’ delivery truck and salesmen. The white coats and well-shined shoes of the salesmen distributors, and the spotless trucks, reinforced Hellmann’s focus on quality, cleanliness and prompt distribution.
In 1916, nationwide expansion began with Chicago and by 1925 Hellmann’s was available in select southern states. A year later, the same year that the Hellmann’s trademark for mayonnaise was used for the first time, sales reached about $8 million (€6 million) and the fleet of trucks totalled 400.
Takeover and global growth
As Hellmann’s expanded on the east coast of the US, a mayonnaise launched by Best Foods proved to be a success in the West. And so it was almost inevitable that, in 1932, Hellmann’s was acquired by Best Foods. To this day, Hellmann’s is sold east of the Rockies and Best Foods mayonnaise is sold west.
International expansion began in 1961 with the launch of Hellmann’s mayonnaise in the UK, creating a new table sauce category. Latin America followed later with the introduction of the brand in several countries including Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Brazil.
Hellmann’s was bought several times by different and well-known companies, and finally acquired by Unilever in 2000.
Since its inception, the brand has extended into adjacent consumer needs with a portfolio of products that now includes light mayonnaise, ketchup, salad dressings and a range of flavoured mayonnaise including a Touch of Garlic, a Spark of Chilli, a Zing of Lemon and a Pinch of Mustard.
Only the finest, real ingredients go into Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise: certified cage-free eggs, oil and vinegar. It’s these ingredients that create the high-quality product for which Hellmann’s is – and has always been – known.
A global phenomenon
Today Hellmann’s is the world's number one mayonnaise brand sold in more than 75 countries. Americans spend $1.87 billion (€1.4 billion) on mayonnaise each year, with Hellmann’s capturing a 44% share of the market, according to the latest data from Nielsen (August 2013).
To put the popularity of the brand in context, if all the Hellmann’s jars sold over the past century were stacked on top of each other, they would reach to the moon and back.