Another disappearance on SA food shelves

In recent times South African consumers have bid a sad goodbye to some iconic food products, including Cadbury’s Tempo, Chocolate Log, Simba’s All Gold Tomato Sauce chips, Peck’s Anchovette and Redro fish paste, and TaB.

Now, consumer goods giant Unilever has confirmed that its famed Hellmann’s Mayonnaise – the American mayo known for quality and creaminess – has been discontinued in South Africa, likely mostly due to high inflationary import costs.

A refrigerator staple in many households, local grocery shoppers have found the condiment hard to come by for many months.

Unilever told, “It has been confirmed that the product has been discontinued due to a low consumer demand for the product within South Africa and also because it was delisted by the major retailers.”

Woolworths confirmed that it delisted the product in April 2022, but contrary to Unilever’s claim of low demand, Woolies told Bizcommunity that “Unilever was unable to consistently supply Woolworths with Hellmann’s Mayonnaise to meet our customer demand”.

Meanwhile, Shoprite Group simply stated, “Unilever has advised the supermarket group that it has discontinued Hellmann’s Mayonnaise.”

Pick n Pay commented that “Hellmann’s was delisted by Unilever”, but the retailer assured customers that Pick n Pay is “already working on plans” to get the product back on its shelves.

Hellmann’s history

The Hellmann’s Mayonnaise brand has existed for more than 100 years.

German immigrant Richard Hellmann moved to New York City where opened up a delicatessen in 1903 with his wife Margaret. They soon noticed that their homemade mayonnaise was so popular that they started to sell it separately.

According to Unilever, the creamy condiment was first sold in grams, from small batches that were freshly made on a daily basis. Local housewives would buy the mayonnaise, which was sold in small wooden boats. When demand grew, Richard Hellmann got ‘Blue Ribbon Mayonnaise’ trademarked so that the small glass jars in which he began selling his mayonnaise would highlight the product’s quality.

Over the years Hellmann’s Mayonnaise expanded beyond the US to become a household name around the globe.

Nando’s riposte!

As can be expected, on-the-ball Nando’s stepped into the breach with some clever wordplay.

A simple piece of guerrilla marketing comforted Hellman’s lovers with the reminder that the chicken chain’s Perinaise wasn’t going anywhere.