- Shutterstock/Tim UR
If you grew up making your tuna salad with Hellman’s mayonnaise, you might be surprised to know that in other parts of the country, that crucial ingredient is impossible to find.
That’s because one of America’s most popular mayonnaise brands actually has two different names depending on where you are in the country.
One man’s Hellman’s mayo on the East Coast is another man’s Best Foods mayo on the West Coast.
The only place you can buy both is in Denver, Colorado.
History takes us back to 1905, when German immigrant Richard Hellman opened a delicatessen in New York City. His homemade mayonnaise became so popular that he ended up selling it separately.
He started with two different versions of the condiment, and to distinguish between the two he added a blue ribbon around one. The blue ribbon gives Hellman’s mayonnaise its signature look to this day.
While Hellman was making a name for himself on the East Coast, thousands of miles away on the West Coast, a company called Best Foods was also becoming famous for its popular mayo.
In 1932, Best Foods bought Hellmann’s and merged the two companies. The two mayos were made using the same ingredients, but their names stayed the same.
In 2000, the company was bought by consumer goods conglomerateUnilever for $20.3 billion.
What is the difference?
This is a tub of “Best Foods” mayonnaise, which is sold west of the Rocky Mountains in Washington, California, Nevada, Idaho, Arizona, Oregon, and Utah.
This is Hellman’s, which is sold in all the remaining states in the US. The only place you can buy both is in Denver, according to its parent company, Unilever.
Is there a difference in taste?
Both tubs have almost identical ingredients, though there is one minor difference. The “Best Foods” variety has 5 milligrams more sodium in each 14-gram serving.
In a taste test conducted by editors at HuffPost, Best Foods was said to have a more tangy taste overall, while Hellman’s was sweeter.