How Hellmann's Mayo Became An American Favorite

If you were to open your refrigerator, there's a good chance there is a whole shelf inside dedicated to your favorite condiments. You probably have a bottle of mustard, some relish, perhaps a few mustards, and, in all likelihood, a bottle of mayonnaise. Depending on where you live, it may say Best Foods or Hellmann's on the bottle. After all, the name is nearly synonymous with the condiment.

Though we love a drizzle of mayonnaise on our burger buns, there are also plenty of ways you can use mayonnaise in your cooking. That said, some have even tried to use mayonnaise in other ways outside of the kitchen. One of these ways was even prominently featured on "The Office" when the cast attempted to get ride of their lice by smothering the little guys with mayonnaise. Though a creative way to use this condiment, this process is not very effective. We recommend keeping mayonnaise in the kitchen, rather than in your medicine cabinet. It'll be much more useful and delicious, of course.

1. Hellmans' legacy started with a personal recipe

The Hellmann's legacy is deeply rooted in a family recipe and a dream to succeed. Since this condiment is a frequently featured condiment at family gatherings, it feels fitting that Hellmann's mayonnaise began as a family effort and original recipe.

Richard Hellmann immigrated from Germany to the United States. He is said to have arrived with plenty of passion and desire to find success in the states. It wouldn't be long before we would meet Margaret, his future wife, at her parents' deli. In 1913, the two set out to open their own delicatessen, aptly named Hellmann's Delicatessen. This deli was the first to sell the famous Hellmann's mayonnaise. At the time, many families would make their own mayonnaise recipes, and these different variations boasted different flavors and even textures. The recipe that would form the basis of Hellmann's mayonnaise was, according to the brand, inspired by Margaret's family recipe.

2. Bring out the Hellman's and bring out the best sold mayonnaise

Brands aim to crate slogans that capture the heart of the product, and "Bring out the Hellmann's and bring out the best" effectively serves as the centerpiece of many of Hellmann's advertising campaigns. This slogan aimed to show that Hellmann's mayonnaise was not just a condiment but an integral part of creating flavorful meals. It appeared in commercials, on bottles, and featured in print ads.

While today's commercials have evolved to star-studded vignettes, the essence of the Hellmann's brand has always revolved around quality and taste. The advertising landscape has shifted dramatically over the years, with an increased focus on digital platforms, engaging visuals, and storytelling that resonates with global audiences. However, the core message behind the iconic phrase still rings true: Hellmann's can add a little something extra to your meals, one of our top picks for the best mayo brands.

3. Some Americans know Hellman's as Best Foods

Some Americans are more familiar with the name Best Foods than Hellmann's, even though these two brands are the same popular mayonnaise. The reason for this dual identity dates back to 1932, when Best Foods purchased Hellmann's, merging the two companies. In a strategic move to retain customers and maintain brand loyalty, Best Foods decided to keep both names instead of consolidating under one unified brand, and making the labels for both brands look similar, emphasizing the shared identity. This approach allowed the mayonnaise to preserve its regional appeal while providing a consistent product for consumers.

Despite the similarities in packaging and branding, some people claim to notice a taste difference between Hellmann's and Best Foods mayonnaise. Hellmann's is often described as having a sweeter flavor profile, while Best Foods is said to have a tangier taste. These subtle variations, whether perceived or real, have only added to the distinctiveness of the two brands and contributed to the enduring appeal.

The geographical distinction between the two brands is quite clear: Hellmann's is the brand east of the Rocky Mountains, while Best Foods dominates west of the Rockies, according to HuffPost. This regional division has become an intriguing part of the brand's history.

4. The real mayonnaise wording is purposeful

The "real mayonnaise" wording on Hellmann's mayo bottles is a deliberate choice that carries significance to both the company and the consumer. This label emphasizes the authenticity and quality of the product since it adheres to the strict definition of mayonnaise set forth by the Food and Drug Administration.

According to the FDA, mayonnaise is a regulated product that includes vegetable oil, or another acidifying ingredient, as well as egg yolk, among other ingredients. A sandwich spread product cannot be legitimately labeled as mayonnaise if it does not meet these criteria. This distinction is essential, as it helps to differentiate real mayonnaise from imitations or alternative products. Hellmann's intended message seems to be that alternative options do not deliver the same taste or quality (but a homemade mayonnaise recipe might be close). In a market filled with numerous condiments and spreads, this label states that the product inside is actual mayonnaise. 

5. Mayonnaise alternatives fit a range of diets

In response to the growing demand for healthier options and the diverse dietary needs of its customers, Hellmann's offers a product line that caters to various lifestyles and nutritional requirements.

Hellmann's Light Mayonnaise contains half the calories and fat of traditional mayonnaise, and this lighter version brings a familiar taste while keeping their calorie and fat intake in check. For those who appreciate the benefits of olive oil, Hellmann's Olive Oil Mayonnaise integrates olive oil, of course, and provides a rich, creamy texture while incorporating the heart-healthy attributes of olive oil. 

Hellmann's Canola Mayonnaise is an option for those hoping to watch their cholesterol since it's made using canola oil, which is lower in monosaturated and saturated fats than vegetable oil. Plant-based and gluten-free consumers can also enjoy Hellmann's products with the Vegan Spread. This egg-free and gluten-free option mirrors the classic Hellmann's mayonnaise experience but without eggs.

6. Several different flavors of Hellman's

In addition to its traditional mayonnaise and health-conscious alternatives, Hellmann's has expanded its product offerings to include a variety of delicious drizzle sauces. While not technically mayonnaise, these sauces offer different ways to use sauce in your cooking. You can use them to elevate the taste of various dishes, such as pizza, tacos, fries, salads, and sandwiches. These take your condiment addition to whole new territories and can help dramatically alter the feel and taste of your food. Plus, the convenient packaging and easy-to-use design make them a go-to choice for adding a burst of flavor to everyday meals or experimenting with new culinary creations.

Hellmann's drizzle sauces are available in several mouthwatering flavors that cater to diverse palates. These include Roasted Garlic Sauce, Creamy Chili Honey Sauce, Cilantro Lime, Jalapeno Ranch, and Creamy Sriracha. Each sauce offers a unique combination of flavors and textures, making it easy to find the perfect addition to your favorite dishes.

7. Unilever acquired Hellman's in 2000

In 2000, Unilever made a significant acquisition by purchasing Best Foods, which included Hellmann's brand, for a staggering $20.3 billion. Though the deal eventually went through, it wasn't without some drama as Best Food turned down the initial offer, but Unilever was undaunted and remained committed to making the deal work. This strategic move not only expanded Unilever's portfolio in the condiment market but also catapulted the company to the position of the world's largest food company at the time. 

The acquisition of Best Foods, and by extension Hellmann's, exemplified Unilever's dedication to growing and expanding in the food industry. Unilever is the owner of a variety of brands like the popular Ben & Jerry's ice cream, as well as Knorr. But, Unilever doesn't just focus on food brands; there are also household brands you may use for cleaning or in other areas of your home.

8. Make eggnog with Hellmans mayonnaise

When brainstorming recipes that include mayonnaise, drinks might not be the first thing to pop into your head. However, here's an unexpected twist: try making holiday eggnog with mayonnaise. It sounds odd at first, but when you think about it, it actually makes sense. Mayonnaise is made from eggs and oil, providing a creamy base that complements the traditional eggnog recipe.

It's pretty simple to prepare this unique egg nog with Hellmann's. Combine your mayonnaise with milk, cream, vanilla extract, nutmeg, seasonal spices, and, if you like, a splash of your favorite rum for eggnog. This unconventional addition adds a richer depth of flavor and creates a smooth, velvety texture that's perfect for sipping.

Incorporating mayonnaise into your eggnog might raise a few eyebrows, but don't let that deter you. This unconventional approach may become a new holiday tradition for you and your family that's ideal for sipping at all of your festive gatherings.

9. Thermochromic ink on Hellmann's jars can warn of a warm fridge

Hellmann's is always on the hunt for interesting ways to improve customer experience, and with "Love Food, Hate Waste," it is also determined to help reduce food waste. One such feature Hellmann's is testing a smart jar with thermochromic ink on the label. Thermochromic ink is a special type that changes color based on temperature fluctuations. By incorporating this ink into the labels, Hellmann's aims to provide an easy way for customers to determine if their refrigerator maintains the ideal temperature for food preservation.

The thermochromic ink on the Hellmann's jar label displays a unique design when the jar reaches the coolness safe for preservation. However, if your refrigerator temperature rises, causing the environment to become too warm for proper food storage, the ink will change. The hope here is that consumers will then make the refrigerator cooler to help preserve food and prevent waste.

10. Hellmann's partners with Feeding America

Following the footsteps of other food giants like Planters' iconic Peanut Mobile and Oscar Mayer with its famous Wienermobile, Hellmann's has unveiled its very own colossal food truck — a massive mayonnaise jar on wheels. But, this eye-catching vehicle is more than just a fun gimmick; it also serves a charitable purpose. 

Hellmann's encourages people to snap a picture of the gigantic mayonnaise jar on wheels and share it on social media using the hashtag #MayoForMeals. For every photo posted with this hashtag, Hellmann's pledges to provide funding for 500 meals to Feeding America, a community of food banks and programs with the goal of fighting hunger in the United States.

So, watch for Hellmann's mayonnaise jar on wheels to come cruising through your town. With every photo shared, you'll contribute to a fantastic cause and help put food on the table for thousands of people across the nation.

11. Super Bowl ads for Hellman's are hilarious

In today's competitive advertising landscape, the era of simple jingles for ads is long gone. Super Bowl commercials, in particular, have evolved into a highly-anticipated form of entertainment, commanding astronomical prices for their airtime. As a result, brands constantly strive to create memorable, engaging, and amusing content that will captivate audiences and create lasting impressions.

Hellmann's has enthusiastically joined the fun by showcasing creativity and humor with hilarious Super Bowl commercials. The 2023 commercial featured Hollywood stars Jon Hamm and Brie Larson in miniature form inside a refrigerator, hanging out with a massive jar of mayonnaise. Pete Davidson opens the fridge and explains that he plans to eat them. The commercial is odd but, ultimately, funny.

Previously, the company had another ad starring Davidson and Jerod Mayo. In this one, Mayo was tackling wasteful people before bringing down Davidson at the end. The overarching message here is that people should avoid wasting food. By investing in Super Bowl food ads, Hellmann captures the attention of millions of viewers. 

12. This mayonnaise uses sustainable ingredients

Hellmann's is actively working to source sustainable oils for its products. The Real Mayonnaise brand says it already incorporates responsibly sourced oils, and Hellmann's claims to be working on expanding this practice across its entire product line. Sustainable sourcing involves paying close attention to various environmental factors such as land use, conservation efforts, irrigation water usage, water quality, greenhouse gas emissions, and soil carbon management. Working with an organization called Field to Market, Hellman's helps its Iowan farmers improve these aspects of sustainability. This benefits both Hellman's and the farms to achieve sustainability goals.

By prioritizing using sustainable ingredients, Hellmann's demonstrates efforts toward environmental stewardship and ethical food production. It's commitment to sustainability not only enhances the brand's image but also sets a positive example for other companies. Plus, you can feel good about a company you support taking strides to protect the sources of its ingredients.

13. Hellmann's aims to be fully recyclable come 2025

Setting an ambitious goal to make all its plastic packaging entirely recyclable, compostable, or safely reusable by 2025, Hellman's aims to demonstrate its dedication to reducing its environmental impact and promoting a more sustainable future. As part of this initiative, Hellmann's plans to use 100% recycled materials for its bottles and caps. Unfortunately, this change to 100% recycled plastics does not happen overnight. 

Hellmann's different types of plastic in its containers and not all of them are easily or cheaply recyclable. Plus, since these items will hold food products, they must meet certain purity standards when it comes to recycled plastic — meaning limited suppliers. While this may result in a slightly darker color for the plastic packaging, we think you'll agree that the difference is a small price to pay for its positive environmental impact.

14. Nintendo's Animal Crossing: New Horizon has a Hellmann's island

It's not every day that a condiment company partakes in the gaming world, but, perhaps, more should. Hellmann's has introduced a unique island within the popular Nintendo game, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, to inspire gamers to reduce holiday waste. This Hellmann's island allows players to engage with the brand while participating in a charitable cause.

The primary objective of Hellmann's island is to encourage players to bring their in-game leftovers to the island. In response to this virtual act of waste reduction, Hellmann's UK says it will make a monetary donation to FareShare, a UK-based charity dedicated to fighting food waste and tackling hunger. To participate, players bring spoiled turnips to the island, and those spoiled, virtual foods become donations. Of course, if players donate spoiled turnips on the island, they would need to find different ways to draw out bugs in the game.

15. Several TikTok Recipes use Hellmann's

TikTok has become a global sensation, capturing the attention of millions and introducing the world to a plethora of fascinating and creative recipes. Hellmann's has embraced this trend and encourages its customers to use its product in various imaginative ways. In fact, Hellmann's has gone so far as to create a section on its website sharing recipes inspired by the viral ones. The page appeared to be trying to tap into these viral trends, and Hellmann's is making a run at relevancy with a younger generation and at reducing food waste as part of Hellmann's own "Make Taste, not Waste" program.

From salmon rice bowls to Texas caviar and even sriracha pesto egg sandwiches, the recipes use Hellmann's mayonnaise in various dishes, elevating their flavor and texture. By using Hellmann's in numerous TikTok recipes, users are learning how to use mayonnaise as more than a condiment on sandwiches. 

16. Use Hellmann's in chocolate cake

In the first half of the 20th century, the mayonnaise cake emerged. It may sound bizarre, but including mayonnaise in your chocolate cake enhances the mouthfeel and overall moistness. With its egg and oil base, mayonnaise acts as a natural emulsifier, helping to create a smooth batter and a moist cake. So, the next time you set about to create a chocolate cake that is very moist and flavorful, be sure to add mayonnaise to the mix.

To make a chocolate cake with Hellmann's mayonnaise, you'll need a cup of mayonnaise, water, eggs, and your favorite boxed chocolate cake mix. Although we recommend chocolate cake for this recipe, you can also experiment with other flavors. The result will be an ultra-moist cake with a luxurious texture that will impress your family and friends. You'll end up with a cake that will leave everyone wondering about your secret.