Dr. Oetker Stories

Dr. Oetker and jelly – they simply belong together

There are many names for the fruity dessert with the bright colors and the typical rocking. In Germany, it is often called Götterspeise, translated “food of the gods”. Recipes have been known since the 18th century, but it was Dr. Oetker who made it a favorite of children in Germany. This year we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Dr. Oetker jelly as a chilled product.

Dr. Oetker and jelly – they simply belong together

23.5.2023 History

The term Götterspeise for a gelatine-based jelly became established in the German-speaking world in the 20th century – thanks to Dr. Oetker. In fact, the name is the result of the creativity of the company's founder, Dr. August Oetker, and his younger brother, Dr. Eduard Oetker. It has been available as a powder product in Germany since 1912. And since 1973 it has been available as a chilled product. By the way: Only this summer, the retro jelly with lemon flavor is once again available ready to spoon in the refrigerated section of supermarkets in Germany!

Origins of jelly

Recipes for fruity desserts based on gelatine have been documented since the middle of the 18th century at the latest. The world-famous cookbook "The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy" by the English author Hannah Glasse (*1708 +1770) had a recipe for trifle from the 1751 edition, which was to be prepared with fruity gelatine, among other things. Trifle is a dessert typical of England. In the Anglo-American world, Glasses' cookbook was one of the most widely distributed books. It was just as popular in England and Ireland as it was in the British colonies and later the United States.

With industrialization, food production also became more efficient. Gelatin became increasingly popular in the 19th century, although it has been known for a long time. Elaborate dessert creations made of brightly colored gelatine developed into a status symbol. In 1845, the American Peter Cooper secured the patent for the industrial production of powdered gelatine. In 1897, Pearle Bixby Wait in the state of New York, based on this very patent, developed "Jell-O", the first modern powder for the preparation of a fruity jelly and to this day synonymous with this type of dessert in North America.

Cardboard display from 1927

The invention of Götterspeise by Dr. Eduard Oetker

Jelly or “Wackelpeter”, was also well-known in Germany when Dr. August Oetker expanded his business. The term “Wackelpeter” can be translated into “wobbly Peter”. However, a ready-made powder product was not yet available in Germany at the end of the 19th century. With the pudding powder introduced in 1894, however, Dr. Oetker already offered a successful pudding which must be cooked before served, followed in 1898 by the popular fruit groats powder. When the company moved from a pharmacy to a new factory building in 1900, there was finally room to set up a spacious development laboratory. In 1904, Dr. Eduard Oetker, a younger brother of Dr. August Oetker, took over its management. He was already working for his brother during his pharmacy days. His first work was initially concerned with the improvement of existing recipes. However, one of his new product developments was a direct hit. With his jelly, he hit the nerve of the time, its name: Götterspeise.

Götterspeise means “food of the gods”. The name was intended to suggest a connection with the legendary dish Ambrosia from Greek mythology. For the first time, there was also a powder product from a German manufacturer that could easily be used to make a fruity jelly. The choice of name was also spot on. To this day, the term Götterspeise is synonymous with fruity jelly in Germany.

The Götterspeise is also a success in the refrigerated section

It would take a long time before desserts could be bought ready-to-eat. At the beginning of the 1970s, sales of ready-to-eat desserts in Germany rose sharply. In 1971, sales of all manufacturers amounted to 90 million units. By 1973, this figure had risen to 220 million units. Dr. Oetker was immediately able to assert himself in the competitive environment, in which the first spoon-ready puddings were offered in 1972.

Ready-to-use Jelly from Dr. Oetker 1973

In 1973, ready-to-use jelly was finally available in the refrigerated section!

To further benefit from this trend, Dr. Oetker expanded its product range. In 1973, the range Pudding Bar was introduced with a great deal of advertising. The classic milk pudding was accompanied by frappés, wine cream, cream desserts and jelly. The latter, in particular, has become a beloved classic. For many, this is the taste of childhood!

Print ad for Dr. Oetker jelly 1977

A print advertisement for chilled Dr. Oetker Götterspeise from 1977.

Jelly as a ready-made dessert turns 50!

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of jelly as a fresh dessert, Dr. Oetker is launching a limited edition in Germany: The Jelly XXL Anniversary Edition Lemon Flavour. With its nostalgic retro design, the product is reminiscent of the first Dr. Oetker jelly cups in the chiller cabinet from the 1970s.

Dr. Oetker Götterspeise XXL Jubiläums-Edition Zitronen-Geschmack