Knorr celebrates 175 years

Creating great-tasting food doesn’t happen by chance. It takes innovation, hard work, high-quality products and, above all, passion.

A kitchen staple

map of the world made up of herbs and spices

This October Knorr is toasting 175 years of innovative and nutritious products that bring out the best flavours in food.

From the iconic stock cube to soupy noodles and Gourmet meal-maker sachets, Knorr products are now used by 320 million home cooks and professional chefs in 87 countries to create delicious dishes every day.

Cathryn Sleight, SVP Foods at Unilever, says: “Reaching the 175 year milestone is a huge achievement and a testament to the quality of Knorr’s products. Today the brand is more popular than ever, with Knorr products found in kitchens around the world and a key ingredient in many favourite home-cooked meals.”

Visit the Knorr website for tasty recipes you can make at home.

Setting high standards

Nutrition and flavour have always been at the heart of Knorr’s products. When founder C H Knorr started experimenting with food-drying techniques in his Heilbronn factory in Germany he not only created a brand with a mission but also kick started its tradition of innovation.

Around 1870 Knorr launched its first soup product, Suppenmehl before branching out into different mixes containing flour from peas, beans and lentils, dried vegetables and spices. As consumers got a taste for Knorr, the brand began its international expansion with factories in Switzerland and Austria.

Knorr’s product range was also growing. The Erbswurst Pea Sausage soup was launched in 1889 and is still going strong today. This was followed by three kitchen staples – Knorr SOS soups, soup cubes and the Knorr Bouillon Cube – by 1912. Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen even took Knorr soups with him on his successful expedition to the South Pole.

A winning ingredient

Rapid expansion in 1920s and 30s saw Knorr open branches in New York and the Polish city of Poznań and appoint the first ever Knorr chef.

The global roll-out gathered speed in the 50s and by the early 1960s Knorr was found in kitchen cupboards across Europe and had established itself on shop shelves in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico.

Back in Germany, the Heilbronn factory where it all started became the company’s R&D centre in 1962 and developed the patented binding technology used in the packaging for products such dry salad mixes and meal-makers.

By 1967, Heilbronn had opened its first Chefmanship Centre, which grew into one of the biggest employers of chefs worldwide. Today it is home to 300 chefs representing 48 different nationalities.

Building a truly global brand

As business boomed over the following decades, Knorr made its debut in dozens of markets to reach millions of consumers in 87 countries worldwide.

Knorr joined the Unilever family in 2000 as part of the acquisition of Best Foods and became the biggest brand in the portfolio. It has continued to create new ways of appealing to home cooks with innovations such as bake-in-the-bag meals and jelly bouillon.

Farming for the future

Sustainable sourcing is key to Knorr. In 2010 it established the Knorr Sustainability Partnership Fund, which awards grants amounting to €1 million every year to support suppliers and farmers in sustainability-related projects that they are unable to tackle alone. This had led to Knorr’s first product made from 100% sustainably sourced tomatoes, launched in 2012, and 24 farms have been designated ‘Knorr Landmark Farms’. By the end of 2012, 59% of Knorr’s top 13 vegetables and herbs were being purchased from sustainable sources. And by 2020 100% of all the agricultural materials used in its products will be sustainably sourced.

October 2013

Back to top

Connect with us

We're always looking to connect with those who share an interest in a sustainable future.

Contact us

Get in touch with Unilever and specialist teams in our headquarters, or find contacts around the world.

Contact us