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Hero was founded in 1886 in Lenzburg, Switzerland and is headquartered there to this day. The vision of the original founders, Gustav Henckell and Gustav Zeiler, was to preserve fruits as gently and carefully as possible, and that vision still today provides Hero with the finest quality fruit products in the world.
In 1995 Dr. Arend Oetker acquired a majority shareholding in Hero and re-positioned the group to focus on its branded business. The baking aids business was established as a new core segment, and other core categories were strengthened with new business acquisitions. During that same period the Group embarked on a major geographic expansion program. Prior to 1995 Hero was present with its own organization in just five countries…Germany, Switzerland, Spain, the Netherlands and Italy. Today Hero has expanded its presence into the UK, France, Portugal, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Turkey/Central Asia, Egypt/North Africa, Saudi Arabia/Middle East, USA and Japan.
Hero is now a privately held, international, branded food producer in four Core Categories, Fruit (38% of sales in 2004), Infant Nutrition (17%), Cereals (8%) and Decorations (23%). During 2004 the Group achieved sales of just under $1.1 billion and had over 3,300 employees in more than 15 countries.