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Hellmann's and Best Foods 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.
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.
1922 Hellmann began building a larger factory in Long Island City. While honeymooning in San Francisco, California, Hellmann decided to open a plant there too, setting up an office and soliciting salesmen.
A Californian company Postum Foods had introduced their own mayonnaise, Best Foods Mayonnaise, which became popular on the West Coast of the USA, and was operating a major plant in San Francisco.
1927 Postum Foods bought the Hellmann's brand, allowing Hellmann to retire. By then both brands of mayonnaise had such commanding market shares in their respective halves of the country that the company decided that both brands and recipes be preserved in their respective territories.
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.