Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,435 pages of information and 233,876 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.


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Hellmann's and Bestfoods are brand names that are used for the same line of mayonnaise and other food products. The Hellmann's brand is sold in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains, and also in Latin America, Europe, and Canada. The Best Foods brand is sold in the United States west of the Rockies.

Both brands were previously sold by the U.S. based Best Foods Corporation, which also sold several other food products in addition to Hellmann's and Best Foods mayonnaise, before it was acquired by Unilever in the 1990s.

1905 Richard Hellmann from Vetschau, Germany, opened a delicatessen in New York City, where he used his wife's recipe to sell the first ready-made mayonnaise. It became so popular that he began selling it in bulk to other stores.

1912 Hellmann built a factory for producing Mrs. Hellmann's mayonnaise in jars. It was mass marketed and called Hellmann's Blue Ribbon Mayonnaise.

1932 Bestfoods bought out the Hellmann's brand. By then both mayonnaises had such commanding market shares in their respective halves of the country that the company decided that both brands and recipes be preserved.

1955 Bestfoods acquired Rosefield Packing Co., makers of Skippy peanut butter.

1958 Bestfoods was bought by Corn Products Refining Company to form Corn Products Company.

1961 Hellmann's mayonnaise was introduced in the United Kingdom.

1969 Corn Products Company became CPC International Inc.

1980s Hellmanns had over 50 percent share of the market share by the late 1980s.

1995 Best Foods split from CPC International, becoming a separate company once more.

2000 The company was acquired by Unilever.

Sources of Information