The origins of Peter Kölln KGaA can be traced back to the end of the 18th century. In 1795, Hans Hinrich Kölln (1770 -1812) bought a small, horse-driven groats mill and went on to put a great deal of energy into building it up. He supplied sailors travelling from Elmshorn, Germany, to Greenland with ship’s biscuits. The young company fell into crisis during the course of the wars which followed the French Revolution and as a result of the Continental System introduced by Napoleon I in 1806, but it managed to survive this turbulent period. After the death of Hans Hinrich Kölln, his very capable wife took over the running of the business, enabling his son, Peter Kölln (1796-1858), to establish the company we know today in 1820. His mill provided a sound economic foundation for building a thriving business that reached far beyond Elmshorn. Thanks to a combination of pure hard work and a special knack for business, these modest beginnings grew into a sound economic business base for subsequent generations.
As the Industrial Revolution took hold in England at the end of the 18th century and went on to reach Germany at the beginning of the 19th century, Peter Ferdinand Kölln (1838-1886), the son of the company’s founder, recognised the huge potential of this technical progress: in 1858 he replaced the old horse gin with a steam engine. With these new production methods he paved the way for a successful future.
Although cereal wholesale formed the economic heart of the business up until the start of World War I, during the following years the Kölln flaking plant grew to become one of Europe’s most important oat processing factories whose wholegrain oat products are today available in many different varieties. The 1870s saw the construction of a new mill that made use of the very latest technology for the time. Not only was new production capacity acquired and put into operation over subsequent years, but existing facilities were continually modernised too
Fashions were not the only trends to change over time, tastes in food and drink altered too. With its consistent focus on oats as a particularly valuable cereal, as well as on the consumer, Kölln really managed to capture the spirit of these changes thanks to its classic yet innovative product range.
In 1937 Peter Kölln created one of Germany’s best-known brand icons in the shape of its trademarked “Blütenzarte Köllnflocken” (Kölln quick-cook oat-meal) in packaging that features two different shades of blue. It remains the company’s flagship product even today – Köllnflocken is still synonymous with high-quality oat flakes. Further developments have included mueslis and traditional cereals as well as speciality oats such as Schmelzflocken (tender flakes suitable for small children and babies), Haferkleie Flocken (oat bran flakes) and Instant Flocken (instant flakes).
Even now, in these days of mergers and strategic alliances, the company remains family-owned with a distinct history and its roots firmly in Schleswig-Holstein. For future generations of the family, the name Peter Kölln will continue to represent the duty to maintain the company’s long-standing traditions, whilst also responding to customers’ wishes by coming up with innovative products. As a reliable provider of high-quality, tasty food, Kölln will retain its close connection with the consumer through its products, service and communication channels for generations to come.