Swiss quality and tradition for 130 years
Foundation of “Conservenfabrik Lenzburg, Henckell & Zeiler”1886
Foundation of “Conservenfabrik Lenzburg, Henckell & Zeiler”
Hero was established in 1886 when two friends, Gustav Henckell and Gustav Zeiler, set up Conservenfabrik, Henckell & Zeiler in Lenzburg, to process fruit and vegetables. Henckell was an experienced conserve factory employee and Zeiler was a fruit farmer. By the end of the year they were joined by Carl Roth as a silent partner.
Carl Roth becomes a full partner1889
Carl Roth becomes a full partner
Gustav Zeiler died unexpectedly and was succeeded by Carl Roth. The company was renamed “Henckell & Roth”.
1910 - 1939
A flourishing business and international expansion1910 - 1939
A flourishing business and international expansion
Between 1910 and 1939 five companies were set-up or acquired in Switzerland and the export business flourished. Subsidiaries were founded in the Netherlands (1914) and Spain (1922). By 1922 there were 31 different types of Hero conserves ranging in size from 500g jars to 55kg oak tubs.
Launch of the Hero brand1910
Launch of the Hero brand
The Hero brand name, derived from the first two letters of the partners' names HEnckell and Roth, was launched. Tin cans also inspired the name with the letters H, R, and O resembling their shape.
Quoted on the stock exchange1914
Quoted on the stock exchange
Hero was floated on the Swiss Stock Exchange in 1914.
1940 - 1945
World war II and it's consequences for Hero1940 - 1945
World war II and it's consequences for Hero
Hero was affected by the shortages and scarcity of the war years. To ensure that supplies continued, Swiss housewives were encouraged to wash and return empty containers for re-use. Due to sugar rationing Hero developed a conserve with less sugar and a higher fruit content, creating one of Hero’s most popular brands - Hero Delicia. This premium conserve range has 60% fruit content and a lower sugar content than standard conserves.
1946 - 1994
“Hero Classics” conquer the market1946 - 1994
“Hero Classics” conquer the market
Hero launched a range of products, including tinned ravioli (1948), fruit juices (1963) and Rösti (1968) which are still on supermarket shelves today and known as classics.
Hero extended its activities in the baby food category with the launch of Hero Baby in Spain (1985), in the UK with “Hero Foods (UK) Ltd.”, in Germany with the acquisition of a majority holding of “Lindavia Fruchtsaft AG” and in France with the take-over of “Les Verges d’Alsace”.
Hero under the ownership of the Oetker Family1995
Hero under the ownership of the Oetker Family
In 1995, the German company, Schwartau International GmbH, founded in 1899 and owned by Dr Arend Oetker, acquired a majority stake in Hero. A year later, Hero entered the North American market through a joint venture with McCormick, to form Signature Brands LLC to manufacture food decoration products. Hero sold off its British Rayner subsidiary, producing syrups, sauces and semi-finished goods, its soft drinks and non-Hero branded fruit juices including Klindworth and Lindavia.
2000 - 2015
Becoming an ‘International House of Brands’2000 - 2015
Becoming an ‘International House of Brands’
In 2002, Hero acquired a majority stake in Schwartau. In 2003, it delisted from the Swiss Stock Exchange. Hero expanded into Turkey and the Middle East through the acquisition of the Egyptian jam company Vitrac and the set-up of a joint venture with Ülker Group to produce baby food in Turkey. Hero also entered the Swiss baby food market by acquiring Wander’s Adapta and Galactina brands and expanded into Eastern Europe through the purchase of the Sunar trademark in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
In 2005, Hero purchased the Beech-Nut baby food business in the United States and set up a large R&D centre for infant nutrition in Spain.
In 2006, the company acquired Semper, the leading baby food manufacturer in Scandinavia and a year later, added the Friso (today Hero baby) brand from Friesland Foods to its infant nutrition portfolio. Hero also acquired the Juvela gluten-free business in the UK strengthening its position in nutritional- products. Hero expanded into the Russian market, entered the organic baby food sector in the UK through the acquisition of Organix, and the Belgian market through a licensing agreement with Blédina.
In 2009, a new baby food plant was opened in Ankara, Turkey, as part of the joint venture between Hero and Ülker and a marketing partnership with Abbott Nutrition in the USA was established.
In June 2010, Hero started production in the newly built Beech-Nut baby food plant in the US.
In 2014 Hero acquired full ownership of the business in Turkey, where all products are now sold under the Hero Baby brand.