The roots of our passion

History

2018

The Bell Food Group takes over the controlling interest in Hügli Holding in Steinach (SG) and further expands its convenience product portfolio.

2017

All Group activities are merged under the new umbrella "Bell Food Group" from April.

Bell Ltd (Group) takes over Frostag Food Centrum AG on 1 January 2017.


2016

In Switzerland, Bell acquires Geiser AG, a specialist supplier to the food service segment, and the Valais-based charcuterie specialist Cher-Mignon SA.

Bell takes over the Eisberg Group specialising in fresh convenience salads and fruit, merges Eisberg with Gastro Star and sets it up as an independent subsidiary of Hilcona.

Bell takes over the poultry specialist Huber Group.

Bell Ltd (Group) generates more than CHF 3 billion in sales revenue for the first time.

2015

On 1 May 2015, Bell exercises the agreed option to buy a further two percent of Hilcona AG, increasing its stake as controlling shareholder to 51 percent. 

2011

Bell and Hilcona decide to reorganise their complementary activities in the fresh convenience food sector under the management of Hilcona AG. As part of this merger, the Hilcona Group takes over Bell's convenience food division and Bell in return acquires 49 % of Hilcona.

In May 2011, Bell takes over the German Hoppe GmbH (convenience).

Bell takes over Kocherhans und Schär AG in Churwalden. This acquisition provides Bell with its own drying facilities for the production of Graubünden specialities.

2010

On 27 March, a fire breaks out in one of the refrigerated warehouses of Frigo St. Johann AG in Basel. At 17 days, the fire-fighting operation is the longest intervention in the history of the Basel fire brigade.

2009

140 years of Bell. Bell celebrates its 140th anniversary with a big competition and many special offers and activities.

In January, Bell Holding Ltd takes over 75 percent of the shares of the German sausage manufacturer Abraham GmbH in Seevetal near Hamburg.

Bell Holding Ltd generates more than CHF 2 billion in sales revenue for the first time.

2008

Bell takes over the French charcuterie manufacturer Polette.

June: during the 2008 European Football Championships, Bell provides catering to the fans at the UBS ARENA and the stadiums in Basel and Bern. The public viewing project is the biggest catering contract ever assigned in Switzerland. In total, Bell served food to well over one million people during the EURO.

Bell takes over the German charcuterie manufacturer ZIMBO and acquires a controlling interest in the German ham specialist Abraham.

2006

Important cross-border initiative: Bell starts exporting charcuterie specialities to Luxembourg.

2005

1 January: as part of a joint venture between Coop and the German trading group Rewe, Bell transfers Gastro Service and Grande Boucherie du Molard to a new company called transGourmet Holding AG.

4 February: 172 years after the wild morning tattoo (Morgestraich) of Samuel Bell-Löhrer (see 1833), the "Märtplatz Clique" presents a "Bell'schen Morgestraich" again at 3 am.

2004

1 January: concentration on core business. Spin-off of butcher's shops by way of a management buy-out.

2003

1 January: merger of Grieder AG, Geflügel- und Wild-Import AG, SEG-Poulets AG, Cool Food AG, Top Toque SA, Fleisch AG Luzern and Vulliamy SA to form Bell Ltd.

September: presentation of a new Bell logo and launch of a new corporate design.


2002

The Bell Group's sales revenue exceeds CHF 1.5 billion for the first time.

2001

CoopForte: takeover of all Coop butchery centres. Commissioning of the sites of Grieder Bern, Grieder Gossau and Vulliamy Geneva. Structuring of the Bell Group into six business areas.

1999

21 April: Bell Ltd changes its name to Bell Holding Ltd. Commissioning of the third expansion phase in Basel and the salami factory. Integration of the former GWI Group into the Bell Group.

1998

Integration of SEG-Poulets AG in the Bell Group.

1997

Acquisition of 100% of the shares in Vulliamy SA.

1995

1 July: Integration of Grande Boucherie du Molard in the Bell Group.

1994

27 April: anniversary AGM and subsequent anniversary event of Bell Ltd in Basel to celebrate its 125th anniversary.

4 September: anniversary event of Bell employees in Basel ("Bell Magic").

1993

Sorting facility takes up operations at Plant 1 in Basel. Integration of Bachmann AG, Lucerne in the parent company. The Bell distribution centre opens in Kriens.

1992

May/June: commissioning of the new second phase building. Conversion of Plant 2 at Hagenaustrasse into a raw materials centre.
The Bell Group generates more than CHF 1 billion in sales revenue for the first time.

1991

1 July: Integration of  the meat processing plant Coop Basel als Bell AG's «Plant 2».

2 September: Distribution centre Bell Zurich takes up operations.

18 October: Shell construction of the 2nd extension phase in Basel completed.

1990

31 October: Start of construction work on the 2nd expansion phase at headquarters in Basel.

1989

Nouvelle convention collective de travail pour toutes les entreprises du groupe Bell (cocontractants : FCTA , ASPB et SEC).  Déplacement de la fabrique de Lausanne dans de nouveaux locaux sur le périmètre de l’abattoir.

18 juin : Rencontre au siège de Bâle pour tout le personnel de Bell à l’occasion des 120 ans d’existence de l’entreprise (« Bell Party »).

1988

New workshop building for the technical maintenance of production equipment takes up operations in Basel.

1986

Wallisellen factory closes and the interest in Efha-Werke Berlin is sold. Start of a comprehensive company restructuring measure with a new market orientation and a significant streamlining of the branch network.

1985

Production centre takes up operations.

1984

Bell adopts a new corporate identity.


1983

1 July: Integration of Fleisch AG Lucerne in the Bell Group.

1982

Start of construction of the new production centre in Basel (1st expansion phase).

1980

Acquisition of an interest in the company Maurer Frères SA in Kingersheim (Alsace). Branch opens in Chur.

1973

Construction and commissioning of a wholesale centre at Elsässerstrasse 188 in Basel.

1972

Branches open in Bellinzona and Davos.

The Bell logo is multi-coloured for the first time.


1971

Market launch of Bell «Quick» specialities. Branches open in St. Moritz and Sion. Acquisition of the meat and sausage departments in most of the Jelmoli Group department stores. Acquisition of the butchery Bachmann AG in Lucerne.

1969

"Belle Epoque" centenary celebration. Takeover of Grieder AG in Oensingen, followed by the construction of a new production facility (opening in 1971).

1968

Commissioning of the new factory for ancillary products (fats and proteins) in Basel.

1964

Acquisition of Born AG, Biel. Branch opens in Arosa.

1963

Takeover of Fleischwaren AG in Wallisellen, followed by the expansion of the factory in Wallisellen into a Bell production plant to replace the old factory in Altstetten.

1962

Personnel house with a staff restaurant, changing rooms and a sauna opens at Elsässerstrasse 174. 

The logo at the time:


1961

Commissioning of the new boiler house (electricity plant) at the Basel factory. Opening of branches in Lugano and Locarno. Branch network is at its largest with 172 sales outlets. The investments of Bell Ltd are merged for the first time as the Bell Group.

1957

Bell Ltd generates more than CHF 100 million in sales revenue for the first time.

1956

Takeover of the meat drying company Domenig AG in Arosa (moved to Churwalden in 1964)

1948

Commissioning of a production plant in Lausanne (Grand Pré) on 1 September 1948.

1946

Branch opens in Geneva.

1945

Death of Rudolf Bell-Fischer, the last male descendant of the Bell dynasty.

1938

Paul O. Althaus designs the logo in Roman type in his studio.


1936

For the first time in its history, Bell Ltd posts a loss of around CHF 46,000.

1933

25th anniversary (since the opening of the factory at Elsässerstrasse in 1908).

Opening of a production plant in Zurich-Altstetten.

Establishment of the Bell Pension Fund, one of the first in Switzerland – formed by merging the Pension Foundation of Bell Ltd (employer; since 1924) and the Pension Fund of the Staff of Bell Ltd (employees; since 1927).

1931

Branch opens in Winterthur.

1928

The fruit and vegetable business of Ernst Dreyfus that was taken over with the formation of Samuel Bell Söhne AG in 1908 is spun off and continued independently of Bell under the name Frutta AG by the son of the former owner.

From October, Bell works with another logo in addition to the bell:

1926

At a referendum in the canton of Basel-Stadt, the voters approve the conditions for the construction of the company's own abattoir. Four years later, the Federal Council upholds an appeal by the Basel Butchers' Association and the abattoir project is abandoned.

1923

Acquisition of additional land on Elsässerstrasse for the construction of a company slaughterhouse.

1921

Acquisition of first foreign interest in Berlin (Faupel & Haake, EFHA-Werke).

1920

Acquisition of first domestic interest (Gebrüder Moser AG, Schaffhausen).

1914

With the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, 46 of 123 branches are closed temporarily or permanently.

1913

Commissioning of the refrigerated warehouse at Elsässerstrassse with the 40-metre-high Bell Tower on 1 May 1913. Bell enters into an alliance with the former Swiss consumers' association, Verband Schweizerischer Konsumvereine (V.S.K.), today's Coop. Opening of branches in Bern.

1912

Company name shortened to «Bell AG». Branches open in La Chaux-de-Fonds and Lausanne.

1911

Branches open in Lucerne, Biel and Neuenburg.

1910

First collective labour agreement with the workers' association "Verband der Lebensmittel- und Genussmittelarbeiter der Schweiz", today's trade union for retail, trade, transport and food (VHTL)

1909

Opening of a branch and 12 sales outlets in Zurich.

1908

The new factory built in Basel is opened with 65 employees on 26 October 1908.

Bell creates the bell brand, the company's first real logo.


1907

Founding of the company «Aktiengesellschaft Samuel Bell Söhne». Acquisition of a large site at Elsässerstrasse 174 - 188 in Basel (the company's current headquarters).

1907

Establishment of the company "Aktiengesellschaft Samuel Bell Söhne". Acquisition of a large site at Elsässerstrasse 178 in Basel (the company's current headquarters).

1906

On 3 August 1906, the "Central Hallen" is opened in Bell's former and much expanded sales outlet on the corner of Streitgasse/Weisse Gasse. This is considered to be the first shopping centre in Basel and in Switzerland: shops for all kinds of food are located under one roof.

1904

Acquisition of the neighbouring properties in Weisse Gasse 19 and 17.

1899

Establishment of the company "Samuel Bell Söhne": Eduard Bell (* 1867; † 1936), Samuel Bell-Vollenweider (* 1873; † 1934) and Rudolf Bell (* 1878; † 1945), and the father Samuel Bell-Roth also has an interest. 14 employees. Along with its establishment, the company also acquires the properties at Streitgasse 20 and Weisse Gasse 21 across the road, which has been used as sales outlet since 1 November 1899. After the death of his wife in 1899, Samuel Bell-Roth marries Anna Baur in 1902.

1897

Après les années de formation et de voyages du fils de Samuel Bell-Roth, Rudolf, une charcuterie est mise en service le 1er octobre 1897 dans la cour intérieure de la boucherie « Ochsenmetzg » qui celui-ci dirigera.  La même année, le père Samuel Bell-Roth se retire du comptoir de vente de la boucherie « Ochsenmetzg »

1890

Opening of the first branch of the Bell family at Spalenberg 13 in Basel. From 1893, it is managed by Samuel Bell-Roth's son Eduard.

1882

Samuel Bell-Roth acquires the neighbouring property at Streitgasse 11 and expands his "Ochsenmetzg". 

1869

Samuel Bell-Roth (* 1840; † 1920), the son of Johann Rudolf Bell-Stork, opens his "Ochsenmetzg" (ox butchery) at Streitgasse 13 in Basel on Easter Monday, 29 March 1869.

1834

Samuel Bell-Löhler establishes a butchery and winery at Barfüsserplatz 17. His youngest son, Johann Rudolf Bell-Storck (* 1813; † 1880),  moves to the Burgvogtei in Obern Rebgasse.

1833

Following the "wild" morning tattoo ("Morgestraich") staged without permission by Samuel Bell-Löhler on 27 February 1833, the formerly restrictive carnival regulations are relaxed in 1835 and much more generous rules are introduced. The "Morgestraich" has commenced at 4 am ever since.

1823

Samuel Bell-Löhrer takes over the inn «Zur Sonne» in Obern Rheingasse.

1818

Samuel Bell-Löhler acquires the "Krone" inn in Kleinhüningen, formerly owned by his great-grandfather.

1816

Johann Rudolf's son, Samuel Bell-Löhrer (* 1792; † 1851), becomes a citizen of Basel.

1803

Johann Jacob Bell (* 1760) and Johann Rudolf Bell-Strübin (* 1764; † 1827), two grandsons of Laurenz Bell, take up residence in Basel and become the owners of butcher's stalls at the "Neuen Schol" at Weisse Gasse 7 in Basel.

1718

Laurenz Bell (* 1689; † 1759), a butcher from Lothringen, settles in Kleinhüningen in 1713 and acquires the inn "Zur Krone" in 1718.

Media communications

16.08.2018

The Bell Food Group posted growth in the first half of 2018 with a lower half-year profit

The Bell Food Group's sales revenue improved by CHF 327.6 million to CHF 2.1 billion in the first half of 2018. At 268.3 million kilograms, sales volume is up by 19.9 percent on the prior-year period. EBITDA improved by CHF 6 millio...

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