Christian Hellriegel Daniele Hellriegel Christina Hellriegel Ralf Hellriegel
When our father Günther Hellriegel imported Spanish olives, artichokes and anchovies to Germany in 1965, he was one of the pioneers in our industry. The Hellriegel company consistently expanded its range and brought the imported products to market with great success. At that time, the Republic was still moving between schnitzel and sauerbraten, herring and white sausage. If you wanted something extravagant, you ordered a rump steak. But olives or even anchovies? Such things were only served on holiday. So how did it come about that the scion of a Berlin lawyer's family started dealing in Mediterranean specialities?
As so often in life: In the beginning there was love. Günther Hellriegel was working in Madrid at the time and not only fell in love with the enchanting Spanish woman Ruth Anna-Maria, but also with Spanish cuisine. He took Ruth Anna-Maria as his wife in 1957 and his sense of good taste with him to Berlin.
Equipped with a sense for the trends of the time, Hellriegel recognised that with the beginning of the wave of German travellers to the Mediterranean, there was also a longing for the delicacies from the holiday destination. In 1965, Günther Hellriegel opened a delicatessen import business in Frankfurt am Main. He rented a garage in Frankfurt's Westend.
Hellriegel consistently expanded its product range. In 1965, he was the first supplier to have a double-page spread of delicatessen products in the Neckermann catalogue. Lufthansa was also one of his first customers. His products were also very popular with caterers of other airlines, in the food retail trade and in the wholesale trade. After Hellriegel had to store the products of his strongly growing assortment in 15 different garages, he decided to build a new building in Kronberg in 1970.Hellriegel consistently expanded his assortment. In 1965, he was the first supplier to have a double-page spread of delicatessen products in the Neckermann catalogue. Lufthansa was also one of his first customers. His products were also very popular with caterers of other airlines, in the food retail trade and in the wholesale trade. After Hellriegel had to store the products of his strongly growing assortment in 15 different garages, he decided to build a new building in Kronberg in 1970.
Over the years, the market changed. Large retail chains like Schade, Massa and Latscha were taken over. Today, airlines mostly only serve sandwiches. And the olive has long since become a mass article in the supermarket. The fine sense of good taste and highest quality had become an obstacle, because in the price war, quality is usually sacrificed first.
"We grew up with fantastic, international cuisine," reports Christian Hellriegel, one of the family's three sons, now working as managing director at Hellriegel.
"From an early age, we were used to eating together with the whole family at our big dining room table. This sharpened our perception of what we eat and how something should taste. That's why we have always tasted all our food locally and only offer our customers the products that we can bring to Germany without compromising on quality. Authentic taste is more important to us than import at any price."
Christian Hellriegel and his brothers Ulf and Ralf have been managing the company since the beginning of the 1990s and have since given it important creative impulses. The many journeys and thus the international orientation of the family were laid in the cradle of the three managing directors.
Through many years of cooperation, international friendships have developed - most of them already in the second generation. Producers from Spain, Italy, France, Greece, Turkey or China thus form a large family that - like Hellriegel - sees food as a quality of life. All three brothers also travel the world regularly to expand their network of friends and bring the trends and specialities of different countries to German plates. "My father's concept of turning a meal into a short holiday through refined ingredients still holds true today" explains Christian Hellriegel. The only difference is that over the course of time, customers' expectations have changed. What was the olive in the 1960s is now the truffle. And because we have always catered for top-class tastes, Hellriegel is now one of Germany's largest suppliers of fresh truffles and truffle products. "We source our goods directly from friendly truffle farmers in Piedmont, Umbria or Abruzzo. Thanks to short distribution channels, we can always deliver fresh truffles of excellent quality. Our truffle oil in particular is known and loved by all professional chefs."
Today, we offer over 600 durable and fresh delicatessen products. The love of good taste, friendship and the values of our producer network can be felt in every single product. Our company logo also stands for family and good taste. It shows our mother, Ruth Anna-Maria Hellriegel, and our first product, the olive.