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Hellmann's Mayonnaise substitute in the New York area?

Glendale is hungry Jan 23, 2014 11:02 AM

Now that Unilever has wrecked Hellmann's Mayonnaise by changing the formula, what are former Hellmann's lovers using instead?

In another post, several people recommended "Duke's" and said that it's not at all sweet, which is what I remember about the earlier, good version of Hellmann's. Unfortunately, I'm in New York and Duke's does not appear to be available up here.

(By the way, the present incarnation of Hellmann's tastes WEIRD - why on earth did Unilever screw around with something that everybody who eats mayonnaise seemed to love?)



Glendale is hungry...

  1. s
    susan1353 Jan 23, 2014 11:08 AM

    Trader Joe's mayo is good, and was number 2 on this list from Serious Eats. (Kraft was number one, TJ's/Duke's tied for two, and Hellman's three.)


    2 Replies
    1. re: susan1353
      jounipesonen Jan 25, 2014 01:21 PM

      TJ defintely good. No sugar - Hellman's does add sugar - doubt if the Unilever change has removed it. Duke's also has no sugar but have never tasted - supposedly very good.

      It's pretty easy to make your own - just don't use Olive Oil - OO has peculiar property of becoming bitter when 'whipped.'

      Pity if Unilver has messed with H. My dad was a Hellman's salesman in NY in 40's - so grew up on it.

      1. re: jounipesonen
        EWSflash Jan 25, 2014 06:29 PM

        Ditto- if they've effed with the recipe i'm going to go elsewhere. The Kewpie stuff is good, and the Kraft mayo at work in the packets is good at work, but doesn't translate to good eats at home, for some reason.

    2. sal_acid Jan 23, 2014 11:10 AM

      when did this happen?

      1. d
        DGresh Jan 23, 2014 11:41 AM

        I always buy Hellmann's but not very often because I don't use it very much. When did it change? I buy the reduced fat version if it matters...

        1. f
          ferventfoodie Jan 23, 2014 11:50 AM

          Grew up in Jersey eating Hellman's but when I moved south
          of the MD line I became a Duke's convert. It can be ordered
          from their website if you'd like to give it a try.

          1. LindaWhit Jan 23, 2014 11:56 AM

            Try Cain's mayonnaise. I think it's *mostly* a New England brand, but it could also be in the NY area.

            2 Replies
            1. re: LindaWhit
              hotoynoodle Jan 23, 2014 01:02 PM

              cain's is definitely sweeter.

              1. re: hotoynoodle
                LindaWhit Jan 23, 2014 01:05 PM

                Never did a side-by-side comparison. I'll have to see what it costs to order some Dukes for a comparison there.

            2. j
              Jerseygirl111 Jan 23, 2014 12:01 PM

              I am in NJ and grew up with Helmanns. After learning about Dukes here on CH, we now alternate between the two. But Dukes has much less of a flavor profile than Helmanns. Helmanns is much more eggy. Dukes is more neutral and IMO brings no added flavor to what I add it to. That's not a negative, it allows the main flavor to shine.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Jerseygirl111
                Alfred G Jan 23, 2014 01:39 PM


              2. ennuisans Jan 23, 2014 01:09 PM

                ATK rated Blue Plate as best-tasting a couple of years ago, but again it's a southern regional brand.I haven't found any near me yet to try.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ennuisans
                  roro1831 Jan 23, 2014 02:29 PM

                  I grew up in Blue Plate, the old factory is in New Orleans and was recently converted to condos I believe. I don't like Hellmans and I buy Dukes whenever I am back home

                2. f
                  fourunder Jan 23, 2014 01:18 PM

                  Grew up on Hellmann"s, but haven't purchased it recently so I am not aware of any changes in taste.

                  This past year I purchased 4 jars of Duke's.....I find it both saltier and more vinegary in taste compared to Hellmann's.....and thinner in consistency.

                  I like the taste of Ken's, but I've never seen it in stores....only food service and Costco.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: fourunder
                    Jerseygirl111 Jan 24, 2014 12:29 PM

                    Ken's Heavy Mayo is what I see in Costco, in huge tubs. It is indeed delicious.

                    1. re: Jerseygirl111
                      fourunder Jan 24, 2014 01:30 PM

                      and cheaper than Hellmann's...

                      1. re: fourunder
                        coll Jan 24, 2014 01:56 PM

                        When Hellmanns went sky high a few years back, all the purveyors scrambled to find something cheaper. Not an easy thing in the NY market. Cains was very well received. Kens has always been around as a cheap alternative, but there is no comparison, just riding on the name. It's sort of like marshmallow fluff to me.

                        1. re: coll
                          Jerseygirl111 Jan 25, 2014 12:53 PM

                          Even the extra heavy? Granted that is the only one I ever tried but I wouldn't describe it as fluffy.

                          1. re: Jerseygirl111
                            coll Jan 25, 2014 12:57 PM

                            I was talking about Kens. Although Hellmanns fluffs up nicely in baked dishes.

                            1. re: coll
                              Jerseygirl111 Jan 26, 2014 09:41 AM

                              Yes, the Ken's. Are you saying the Extra Heavy Ken's is fluffy too? Or just the regular?

                              1. re: Jerseygirl111
                                coll Jan 26, 2014 09:44 AM

                                I was talking about Hellmanns heavy duty, while saying that Kens either way is a cheap substitute.

                                Ken's is just for dire emergencies so I am not all that familiar with it. Hellmanns extra heavy is specified by those in the know, Ken's I wouldn't think anyone would really care either way. I've never heard a restaurant ask for Ken's by name.

                                1. re: coll
                                  Jerseygirl111 Jan 31, 2014 10:42 PM


                  2. d
                    DGresh Jan 23, 2014 02:40 PM

                    It looks like the formula changed a couple of years ago. I certainly haven't noticed, but I use it very rarely and doubt I'd notice it in the things I make.

                    1. b
                      Bkeats Jan 23, 2014 05:22 PM


                      1. c
                        Clams047 Jan 23, 2014 05:42 PM

                        Ditched Hellmann's some 20+ years ago when I discovered Cains.

                        1. JMF Jan 23, 2014 07:01 PM

                          Wasn't that recipe change around 7-8 years ago?

                          1. JMF Jan 23, 2014 07:04 PM

                            I've seen Duke's in the NYC suburbs at The Fresh Markets. Personally I don't like it. (Or The Fresh Markets either.)

                            1. a
                              acgold7 Jan 23, 2014 09:01 PM

                              Does anyone have any real factual information to support the assertion that Hellmann's/Best Foods/Unilever has ever changed the formula at any point whatsoever?

                              10 Replies
                              1. re: acgold7
                                JMF Jan 23, 2014 09:02 PM

                                I haven't seen or heard anything I would call factual.

                                1. re: JMF
                                  hotoynoodle Jan 24, 2014 09:33 AM


                                  supposedly he received a reply from unilever admitting to a recipe change.

                                  my b/f is the mayo eater here and yesterday i asked him if the hellman's seemed different. he offered that he thought he had been going crazy, lol. that the texture and flavor are indeed different and that it doesn't stay as emulsified -- it weeps liquid inside the jar.

                                  1. re: hotoynoodle
                                    coll Jan 24, 2014 01:59 PM

                                    Hellmanns Unilever went through a nightmare about six or seven years ago, when they decided they could raise their price to anything they wanted, that's how popular they were. A big mistake, and I wouldn't be surprised if all kinds of tales were told. Every other mayo company was scrambling as if their lives depended on it.

                                    My husband is a Hellmanns addict and I haven't heard any negative feedback lately from him.

                                    1. re: hotoynoodle
                                      JMF Jan 24, 2014 04:07 PM

                                      That is one of the few places it seems to come up, and that was 7 years ago.

                                      1. re: hotoynoodle
                                        JMF Jan 24, 2014 04:09 PM

                                        Curious, I've never seen any "weeping" or signs of poor emulsification myself.

                                        1. re: JMF
                                          coll Jan 24, 2014 05:02 PM

                                          Never any weeping, even now with those I have some stashed in the garage....others would be garbage right now with the below freezing temps. Hellmanns is standing up fine, which is sort of impressive.

                                        2. re: hotoynoodle
                                          acgold7 Jan 25, 2014 01:40 PM

                                          The comments in the thread are interesting, because while we still don't really have any factual info on whether there actually was a formula/recipe change or not other than the assertion of the blogger (and if so, it allegedly happened back in '06), the comments go into great detail about the differences between Best Foods and Hellmann's and other brands and how to make duplicates of many of them at home if you can't order or find your favorite.

                                          1. re: acgold7
                                            jounipesonen Jan 25, 2014 04:07 PM

                                            It would be interesting if there is a difference between H and BF - as it is the same company. Supposedly different labels are just for distribution agreements and actual products should be the same.

                                            (But I see below there MIGHT be difference in lemon content (there are more lemons in California :-) )

                                            1. re: jounipesonen
                                              Wahooty Jan 25, 2014 10:55 PM

                                              Hmm...a lemon contact high, perhaps? ;)

                                              It IS possible to get Best Foods east of the Rockies - I noticed last week that my Big Lots has some BF in stock right now. I almost bought it, just for the novelty factor.

                                          2. re: hotoynoodle
                                            breadchick Jan 26, 2014 04:23 PM

                                            My husband is a Hellman's addict, and hasn't noticed any change. We have no weeping here. :)

                                      2. BobB Jan 24, 2014 12:10 PM

                                        Spectrum Organic Canola mayo is far and away the tastiest I've ever tried. I used to get it at Whole Foods, but now even my local chain grocery carries it.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: BobB
                                          Vidute Jan 24, 2014 04:53 PM

                                          i've switched over to the spectrum organic mayo made with soybean oil. great flavor, nice texture, but pricey. as i don't use mayo that often, i'd rather pay extra for the better quality and flavor.

                                        2. Atomic76 Jan 24, 2014 12:18 PM

                                          Heinz makes a mayonnaise, which isn't sweet. But I wasn't too impressed with it otherwise. It seemed greasier and less opaque than Hellman's.

                                          I was actually pretty impressed with the various types of Veganaise - I usually get the grapeseed one. It's very mild in taste but also very creamy. I actually prefer it sometimes to traditional mayo because it lets the other flavors in a dish stand out more.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Atomic76
                                            Ttrockwood Jan 24, 2014 02:36 PM

                                            The original veganaise is awesome!! I haven't finished this jar yet but i'll get that grapeseed next...

                                          2. Midlife Jan 24, 2014 01:43 PM

                                            Any take on this re Best Foods from West Coasters? I switched to the private label product at Costco some time ago, so I have no recent knowledge. Just interested should I need the info in the future.

                                            7 Replies
                                            1. re: Midlife
                                              LindaWhit Jan 24, 2014 01:47 PM

                                              My understanding was that Best Foods (West Coast/west of the Rockies, Asia & Australia) is the same as Hellmann's (East Coast/east of the Rockies, Canada, Latin America, Europe and Middle East).

                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                acgold7 Jan 24, 2014 02:00 PM

                                                We've not noticed a change in BF at any point. BF is virtually identical to Hellmann's except that it is a bit "tangier" as the company concedes. The ingredient list and nutrition info is identical. So there may be an extra molecule or two of lemon juice or citric acid in the West Coast version.

                                                Difficult to do a side-by-side as each product is distributed only on its own coast, generally, and rarely to they cross regions except in the case of a screw-up.

                                                Kirkland Mayo is made by a commercial processor and is pretty good, actually:


                                                1. re: acgold7
                                                  acgold7 Jan 25, 2014 01:43 PM

                                                  Noticed that the blog post linked to above has some notes about the differences between the two Unilever labels and whether both changed.

                                                  1. re: acgold7
                                                    happybaker Feb 1, 2014 08:51 PM

                                                    I grew up on Hellman's, had to switch to Best Foods when I moved out west. They were pretty interchangeable. Same company, close to same taste.

                                                    I have purchased the Kirkland Mayo and yes, it is good. Better than Kraft to me. But felt a bit flat. Hellman's/Best Foods is still my pref.

                                                  2. re: LindaWhit
                                                    Midlife Jan 24, 2014 06:22 PM

                                                    That's why I'm asking.

                                                    1. re: Midlife
                                                      acgold7 Jan 25, 2014 01:43 PM

                                                      That's why I'm answering ;-)

                                                      1. re: acgold7
                                                        Midlife Jan 25, 2014 07:50 PM

                                                        Thanks for your post above ac. The serious eats blog post way up above said that some people think the two are the same and others think they're different. Huh? I haven't tasted Hellman's in years, do I can't compare, but I do think Best Foods is a bit "tangier" than Kirkland. As usual, though, Costco does a good job.

                                                2. z
                                                  zackly Jan 24, 2014 02:07 PM

                                                  I haven't noticed the change although I'm not much of a mayo user but Unilever did ruin Breyers Ice Cream.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: zackly
                                                    Ttrockwood Jan 24, 2014 02:38 PM

                                                    No kidding. Breyers used to be so much better!!

                                                  2. linguafood Jan 24, 2014 03:00 PM

                                                    Duke's is not locally available where I live either.

                                                    That's why the internet was invented. You can order it through amazon.

                                                    1. t
                                                      tzurriz Jan 24, 2014 04:11 PM

                                                      We go through a disgusting quantity of hellmans in our house, and have noticed no change whatsoever.

                                                      1. j
                                                        jarona Jan 26, 2014 08:18 AM

                                                        Ann Page Mayo was the best thing since the old-school Hellmans. It was the old A & P house brand..my grandmother only used Ann Page Mayo in her home and it was great!

                                                        1. Candy Jan 26, 2014 01:46 PM

                                                          I use Kraft Homestyle (brown lid). No sugar added. Also Duke's. I use the Kraft when I am out of Duke's. Hellman's has become too sweet. Mayo does not need sweetener. If you want sweet use Miracle Whip (ugh).

                                                          1. JMF Feb 1, 2014 08:46 AM

                                                            I just actually sat down and tasted Hellman's and it has definitely changed. It is much less eggy, a little more tart (not in a pleasant way) more greasy tasting and feeling, and has some off metallic flavor. I haven't tasted it plain in quite awhile and when I use it the other ingredients have covered it up.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: JMF
                                                              coll Feb 1, 2014 01:58 PM

                                                              Every time I use it now, I think how I haven't tasted it plain in quite awhile, guess I'm afraid to.

                                                              1. re: JMF
                                                                Glendale is hungry Apr 8, 2014 02:26 AM

                                                                Hi JMF,

                                                                This is what I noticed as well. When tasting Hellmann's 2.0 by itself the difference is very apparent. Not so much when you add it to something like chicken salad or put it on a sandwich.

                                                                Somewhere on the Internet I ran across articles stating that the smaller-size, regular grocery store Hellmann's changed the formula back around 2007 as some have mentioned elsewhere on this thread. However, the full changeover including the sizes that you might get at Costco (which is where I always bought Hellmann's) didn't occur until about two years ago. I don't if this really is true but it pretty much lines up with when I noticed the change.

                                                                Recently I tried the Costco brand mayo (Kirkland) and found it to be better than the current incarnation of Hellmann's but not as good as Hellmann's used to be. Kirkland is a little eggier than the current Hellmann's. It also doesn't taste like some strange greasy sweet/tangy chemical thing the way Hellmann's does at the moment.

                                                                Oh well, at least now I have an alternative that I can live with.


                                                                Glendale is hungry...

                                                              2. c
                                                                ClockworkOrange Feb 1, 2014 08:00 PM

                                                                Seems like I've waited 10yrs. for this thread LOL. I actually saved a Hellmans label years ago after I noticed it changed to compare to the new stuff. Looking at the old label, the ingredients are:
                                                                soybean oil, whole eggs and egg yolks, water, vinegar, salt, sugar, lemon juice, natural flavors, calcium disodium EDTA(used to protect quality).
                                                                New label:
                                                                soybean oil, water, whole eggs & egg yolks, vinegar, salt, sugar, lemon juice, calcium disodium EDTA(used to protect quality), and natural flavors.

                                                                So, right off the bat, we see that they moved water from # 3 ingredient to # 2, knocking eggs/yolks from # 2 to # 3 and natural flavors from # 8 to # 9.

                                                                I'm in eastern PA and have no problem finding Duke's, now my go to mayo (and still 32ounces :D)
                                                                on sale for $2.50, sometimes $2

                                                                Also, Duke's makes their version of miracle whip, not too bad, and way better than the "original" which Kraft destroyed in recent years with the recipe change(s).

                                                                13 Replies
                                                                1. re: ClockworkOrange
                                                                  Vidute Feb 1, 2014 08:45 PM

                                                                  thank you, clockwork, for providing the proof that the recipe changed.

                                                                  1. re: Vidute
                                                                    LindaWhit Feb 2, 2014 07:05 AM

                                                                    Interesting! I just went to get my Cain's mayo for the ingredients. They are: soybean oil, egg yolks, distilled vinegar, water, sugar, salt, cider vinegar and spices.

                                                                    So water is in #4 place in Cain's ingredient list. I think I'll stick with it, as I can't find Dukes around New England to do a taste comparison and I don't have a Costco membership (and I've never bought mayo at a bulk store either - too much for just me).

                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                      linguafood Feb 2, 2014 12:02 PM

                                                                      You can order Duke's on amazon.

                                                                      1. re: linguafood
                                                                        LindaWhit Feb 2, 2014 01:42 PM

                                                                        I know. I'd need to order more stuff though. Maybe next time I have an order in @ Amazon for the free shipping. :-)

                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                          linguafood Feb 2, 2014 02:26 PM

                                                                          We always get the 5-pack :-)

                                                                          1. re: linguafood
                                                                            LindaWhit Feb 2, 2014 02:28 PM

                                                                            Well, it's just me, and I don't go through that much mayo to make it worthwhile. :-)

                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                              Vidute Feb 2, 2014 07:51 PM

                                                                              we could start a condiment of the month thread with mayo as the first condiment! that'd give you a chance to use up all the mayo in that 5-pack! ;)

                                                                              1. re: Vidute
                                                                                LindaWhit Feb 3, 2014 06:03 AM

                                                                                LOL! I'm thinking my arteries might have something to say about that. ;-)

                                                                              2. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                linguafood Feb 3, 2014 10:14 AM

                                                                                It lasts forevah, though. And maybe you just need a few more BLTs and/or BLT salads or cole slaw or blue cheese dressing in your life? :-D

                                                                                1. re: linguafood
                                                                                  LindaWhit Feb 3, 2014 10:22 AM

                                                                                  Stop being an enabler, lingua. :-P

                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                    linguafood Feb 3, 2014 10:45 AM

                                                                                    Hey, that's my job, missy.

                                                                                  2. re: linguafood
                                                                                    Vidute Feb 3, 2014 05:50 PM

                                                                                    don't forget deviled eggs, macaroni salads, mayo cakes, crab imperial, chicken salad, etc. lots of ways to use up mayo! ;)

                                                                                    1. re: Vidute
                                                                                      linguafood Feb 3, 2014 09:19 PM

                                                                                      Endless. I'm a mayo lover, fo sho.

                                                                    2. eclecticsynergy Feb 1, 2014 09:39 PM

                                                                      I'm in NY State and can often find Duke's at Family Dollar stores. I stop in there now and then because there's one only half a block from my building.

                                                                      I also buy Cain's, primarily for making sandwiches. I grew up on Hellmann's, but Cain's is the taste I got used to on deli sandwiches in my NJ days.

                                                                      I find Cain's has a stronger flavor, both eggy and tangy, and I get full mayo taste on a sandwich using much less than when I make one with Duke's or Hellmann's. But for potato salad, tuna salad, egg salad, or chicken salad, I prefer the lighter flavor of the other two over the Cain's.

                                                                      1. r
                                                                        RogueFoodie Feb 3, 2014 05:54 PM

                                                                        I use Trader Joe's Wasabi Mayonnaise.

                                                                        It has a creamy flavor with a building spice - it's a pleasant one that can't be obtained by chili powder or cayenne pepper.

                                                                        If you like to spice up your sandwich or egg salad, try it!

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: RogueFoodie
                                                                          NE_Wombat Feb 6, 2014 07:42 AM

                                                                          "can't be obtained by chili powder or cayenne pepper."

                                                                          Try horseradish and dry mustard. Actual wasabi is the last, most minor ingredient.

                                                                          Expeller pressed canola oil, water, whole eggs, apple cider vinegar, horseradish (grated horseradish roots, distilled vinegar, water, salt, soybean oil, modified corn starch, citric acid, natural flavoring), egg yolks, salt, white mustard, distilled vinegar, water, mustard seed, salt), spinach powder (for color), lemon juice concentrate, mustard oil, wasabi.

                                                                        2. bbulkow Feb 3, 2014 10:19 PM

                                                                          SeriousEats put Kraft in the mix, interesting points about adding a slight amount of onion for tang. Should be worth a try.

                                                                          1. j
                                                                            jounipesonen Feb 4, 2014 07:08 AM

                                                                            With all these mayo fans- with particular tastes - I'm wondering why there aren't more people suggesting DIY. It's not all that difficult but it would be good to get some useful hints. One I can give is to re-think EVOO for Mayo - in mine and many other's experience, it can turn really bitter when whipped.

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: jounipesonen
                                                                              DGresh Feb 4, 2014 08:21 AM

                                                                              Just as a general point, I've never understood why EVOO is such a "go to" for absolutely everything for some people. I like it well enough for some things, but I also use "plain" OO and old fashioned vegetable oil for plenty of other things. EVOO often has a pretty strong flavor which may not always be appropriate.

                                                                              1. re: DGresh
                                                                                hotoynoodle Feb 4, 2014 10:38 AM

                                                                                i blame tv cooking personalities for evoo everywhere all the time. it is NOT suitable for many of the applications in which people like rachel ray use it, but lots of home cooks don't know that.

                                                                                also will mention that much of the imported italian stuff is adulterated garbage now anyway.

                                                                                1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                  jounipesonen Feb 4, 2014 11:05 AM

                                                                                  OK with your general reactions to EVOO - (I happen to like the strong flavor etc. but not in everything of course).

                                                                                  My point here was that the mechanical 'whipping' of EVOO actually changes it into different organic chains - and thus gives bitterness which surely no one wants. I am not sure all ways of preparing Mayo with EVOO will create this result - but it's happened to me 3X and it does happen to others.

                                                                            2. w
                                                                              Wndrlys Apr 8, 2014 06:36 PM

                                                                              The new Hellman's flavor is gross, and Duke's is gross too. I'm making my own now, and it won't have any soy or corn syrup in it.

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