Our Story: Learn About the Legend

Way back in 1943, Carl Roettele had an idea—marry the richness of delicious vine-ripened tomatoes to the zestiness of green chili peppers. The result was legendary, and the rest is history.

A picture of Carl Roettele

An Inspiration

Carl Roettele and his wife open a small canning plant in Elsa, Texas, processing over 25K cases of vegetables a year. The product they're proudest of is their tomatoes and green chilies. Worried people couldn't spell or pronounce “Roettele,” Carl used the name RO*TEL. Soon, his zesty tomatoes and chilies graced the tables of public figures and politicians throughout Texas.

A picture of an old truck that was used for shipping RO*TEL tomatoes.

Texas Beginnings

Originally, RO*TEL® Tomatoes and Green Chilies were only shipped as far away as San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas. They were the biggest cities closest to the town of Elsa, which is at the bottom tip of the state.

A picture of Oklahoma banner.


Cans of RO*TEL had made their way to Oklahoma and Arkansas by the mid-1950s. The news about RO*TEL Tomatoes and Chilies was slowly starting to spread its way around the USA.

A picture that shows the front of the white house.

Secret’s Out

The wife of a popular politician in Washington bragged to a national magazine about her chili recipe. She revealed the secret ingredient that made her chili better than anyone else’s. You guessed it: RO*TEL.

A picture of RO*TEL product cans.

New Packaging

With the same original recipe, RO*TEL updates its packaging. An appealing color palette, more appetizing photography, and the debut of the star in the logo all combine for a more festive look and feel.

A picture of a tomato.


American Home Products added RO*TEL Tomatoes and Green Chilies to its family of fine foods. The deal did not go unnoticed by the U.S. food industry. There were more changes to come.

A picture of HM Capital Partners logo.

A Fortunate Union

In November of 1996, RO*TEL was acquired by Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst Inc., and C. Dean Metropoulos & Co., and became an integral part of the global giant International Home Foods.

A picture of RO*TEL product cans.

More Flavors

Because the original RO*TEL Whole and Diced varieties proved to be so popular, Hot and Mild were added to the product line, along with Mexican.

A picture of ConAgra Foods logo in 2002.

Big Time

International Home Foods was acquired by ConAgra Foods in 2002. This did not, however, alter the spirit of the RO*TEL brand, which is still made with the same original ingredients.

A picture of an opened RO*TEL can.

Going Strong

RO*TEL still holds firmly to the belief that quality is paramount in making a great- tasting product. That’s why only the reddest, ripest tomatoes and the zestiest chilies make the final cut.